Over 300 former employees of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) attached to four affiliated institutions, namely; Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR), Selected Seeds Services (SSS), National Veterinary Laboratory of Rubirizi (LNVR) and National Centre for Artificial Insemination (CNIA), were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Employees and managers of RAB over the weekend convened at the institution’s Huye station to honour the victims.
The event also saw remains of 50 of the victims who formerly worked at ISAR Rubona, in Huye District, receive a decent burial after they were recovered from different parts of the district.
During the burial, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission of the Fight against the Genocide (CNLG) Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana said, in 1992, preparatory meetings were held between Joseph Nzirorera, the then Minister of Industries and the director of OCIR Thé, Michel Bagaragaza, during which they agreed that in various agricultural schemes and tea factories, mainly in southern Rwanda, they should employ people from the northern part of the country.
Bizimana said the plan was aimed at laying ground for the Genocide, because these are the same people who would execute the Genocide two years later.
“Instead of striving to improve the welfare of Rwandans through conducting relevant research on agriculture and animal husbandry, these people and others participated in the plot to exterminate Tutsi using the agricultural schemes,” he said.
He said the government will do everything to ensure the Genocide perpetrators are brought to book, adding that the government had issued arrest warrants for those at large and what now remains is executing the warrants.
“We have to do everything possible to ensure that they get their day in court for their involvement in such brutal killings. Genocide crimes know no borders,” he said.
Those perpetrators should be tried in any country where they are or get extradited to Rwanda, which is even better,” he said citing Charles Ndereyehe, the former Director General of ISAR-Rubona, who is currently living in the Netherlands.
He said Ndereyehe brought many Interahamwe militia from his region in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi (northern Rwanda) who would later under take paramilitary training from Nyungwe Forest, Kitabi and Mata tea factories.
This band of militia nicknamed Turi Hose (we’re everywhere), was later mandated to train other Interahamwe militia across the country, since they were experienced in mass killing in a short time, mourners said.
The Director General of RAB, Prof. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, said it is sad and regrettable that most of the workers were killed by their colleagues, with whom they were ironically supposed to work together to change people’s lives for the better.
The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana, said the ministry and its affiliated institutions were devastated by the Genocide as it took away half of its workforce.
“We should make use of the Genocide memorial sites across the country to teach young people about the cruelty of the Genocide,” she said.
Jeannine Mukamuyango, whose father, Joseph Seromba, worked for ISAR, one of the victims, said as children, they used to play and go to swim at ISAR swimming pool but during the Genocide, some Hutu employees, whose children were playmates, became ‘‘monsters’’.