RUTSIRO- The mood was sombre yesterday in Rutsiro District as the bodies of six people recovered in Lake Kivu after a boat they were travelling in capsized, were laid to rest.
The boat was carrying 71 mourners heading for Nyamunini Island in Lake Kivu to pay respects to the thousands of Genocide victims who were killed and dumped in the lake, capsized.
A subsequent rescue operation mounted by the Marine Unit of the Rwanda Defence Forces rescued 50 passengers and retrieved six bodies from the lake. 15 are still missing.
During yesterday’s funeral service, Théodore Simburudali, the president of IBUKA, the umbrella organization of Genocide survivors’ associations, described the dead as heroes.
“They are our heroes because they attempted to join the rest of the country in remembering the friends and relatives who died during the 1994 Genocide against theTutsi,” he said.
“The determination to get on that ill-fated boat was a great sign of love for their dear ones, which is why we also extend our condolences to their bereaved families”.
A report released by district authorities yesterday, revealed that among the missing include four policemen and three district officials.
At one moment during the ceremony, Jean Ndimubahire, the Mayor of Rutsiro could not hold back his tears since the incident has left a number of leadership posts in his district vacant.
“It is incredible how this happened. It is one of those moments when things are hard to believe,” Ndimubahire said before breaking down.