Rwandan police peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), honoured the lives lost in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
They were joined by other peacekeeping contigents and UN staff in the area, as well as residents of Abyei in the 21st commemoration of the Genocide which claimed over one million innocent lives.
Abyei is a disputed area in Sudan accorded “special administrative status” by the 2004 Protocol on the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the second Sudanese Civil War.
Superintendent Oscar Munanura, head Rwanda Community in UNISFA, said the Genocide was a result of bad leadership by colonialists, who through their divide and rule policy created fictitious classes among Rwandans.
“Twenty-one years ago, Rwanda was plunged into bloodshed and the world remained silent as ethnic cleansing against the minority Tutsi went on. Today is a day to remember the innocent lives lost during the pogrom,” Supt. Munanura said.
He reminded participants that the world needs to emphasise “Never Again” and take a stand to fight against genocide ideology and crimes against humanity.
Maj. Gen. Birhanu Jula Gelalcha of Ethiopia, Force Commander of UNISFA, said the 21st commemoration of the Genocide must be used as an occasion to look back and confront present challenges by collectively resolving to prevent such atrocities from happening again.
“Our first duty is to ensure that genocide never happens anywhere else in the world.”
He further appealed to the international community to go beyond mere rhetoric and take action against human rights violations world over.
Maj. Gen. Jula, who also attended Kwibuka20 in Kigali, last year, emphasised the need to work together by embracing Rwanda’s Umuganda (community work) monthly exercise and to stop violence.
Activities to mark Kwibuka21 anniversary revolve around fighting Genocide denial and revisionism.