Rwandan military and police peacekeepers in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Abyei and Haiti were yesterday joined by residents in those countries to pay tribute to the over one million victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Over 800 police and military peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were joined by members of the Rwandan community, representatives of NGOs and internal displaced persons in Malakai, South Sudan, to commemorate the Genocide.
Speaking at the event, the UNMISS coordinator, Hazel De Wet, paid tribute to the victims of the Genocide and congratulated Rwanda for having rapidly rebuilt itself.
She went on to note that, from the 1994 mayhem, “Rwanda decided not to let any other country go through the ugly experience and has since become one of the top contributors of peacekeepers globally.”
De Wet thanked the UNMISS Rwandan peacekeepers for their exemplary service.
“South Sudanese should emulate the good practices from Rwanda, forget the past and reconcile and build their nation,” she told hundreds of IDPs who attended the event.
Speaking on behalf of the Rwandan peacekeepers in the Upper Nile, Col Deo Rusanganwa detailed the origin and the cause of the Genocide and showcased Rwanda’s current development agenda to uplift the well-being of Rwandans.
He appealed to the international community to work together and facilitate in tracking Genocide perpetrators who are still at large.
In Haiti, the commemoration event was held at the Rwandan Formed Police Unit (RWAFPU6) camp base in Jeremie and attended by over 300 guests, including UN staff, the Rwandan community in Haiti and local residents.
MINUSTAH police commissioner Brig Gen George-Pierre Monchotte was the guest of honor.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Joseph Mugisha, the commander of Rwanda National Police peacekeepers in Haiti, said that, “22 years ago, Rwandans succumbed to 100 rainy days of horror, flooded in blood and in tears of survivors.”
“Rwandans were abandoned in all ways. First, its own army killing the innocent civilians, then the international community with its supposed peacekeepers,” CP Mugisha said.
“Rwanda collapsed at the hands of her citizens and the genocide ideology of the then leaders and the indifference of the international community,” he added.
CP Mugisha added that Rwanda is today responding to distresses beyond its border and is committed to prevent and fight genocide or any atrocities wherever they can happen.
A similar event was held in the Abyei region, where both Rwandan army and police peacekeepers were joined by their fellow peacekeepers from other countries in the commemoration event.