DARFUR - The Rwandan community in the volatile region of west Sudan – Darfur last week joined their fellow compatriots around the world to mark the 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The community in Darfur is mainly composed of members of the Rwanda Defence Forces on a peacekeeping mission in the region.
According to a report from the Rwandan Contingent, Mohammed Yonis, the Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR) of the AU/UN Peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), who presided over the event saluted Rwanda’s effort “to return to the fold of international community as a valued player and its engagement to political accommodation, reconstruction and development.”
The commemoration event comprised a morning session that was attended by more than 500 people while the evening vigil, which included candle lighting and screening of Genocide films and documentaries was attended by more than 800 people.
Col. Chris Murari, the Rwandan contingent commander underscored that although the Genocide was, in many ways, a culmination of hatred initiated during the colonial period, it was also due to the failure of post-colonial rulers in Rwanda to reverse the legacy of that colonial past.
Col. Murari who was speaking on behalf of the UNAMID Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, said that as spelt out by this year’s commemoration theme, there was need to combine efforts to alleviate the plight of Genocide survivors.
“Today is a day to open our eyes to this suffering and honour the memories of those killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda 16 years ago. We should bear in mind the imperative to care for those that need support during this difficult time that brings back painful memories,” he said.
Yonis noted that Rwandans have risen from the ashes of the conflict with a renewed determination that Genocide will never happen again and emphasized that their presence in Darfur is an eloquent testimony.
The Rwanda military contingent commander also stressed that 16 years ago, Rwanda had been written off as a failed state, with people losing hope in life, but the resilient nation has stood up to get on.
“Through hard work and good leadership, the country has not only recovered, but has also become a shining example of success on the African continent.”
“Genocide was, in all honesty, a defining moment in the history of our country. And in the eyes of many observers, Rwanda was a failed state. But given the huge sacrifices Rwandans made, we did not have a choice but to refuse to be a failed state. Together we resolved to uplift ourselves from the abyss and to strive to build a new Rwanda that is peaceful, stable, secure and fit for all of us,” Col. Murari remarked.
The commemorative ceremony brought together Rwandan community in EL Fasher, friends and well wishers including UNAMID senior management, staff, representatives of North Darfur State, as well as military and police officers.