Remains of Genocide victims get decent burial in Gatsibo

Remains of 73 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Monday accorded a decent burial at Kiziguro and Mukarange memorial sites in Kayonza and Gatsibo districts, respectively.
Bodies being lowered into the grave at Kiziguro memorial site on Monday. (Kelly Rwamapera)
Bodies being lowered into the grave at Kiziguro memorial site on Monday. (Kelly Rwamapera)

Remains of 73 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Monday accorded a decent burial at Kiziguro and Mukarange memorial sites in Kayonza and Gatsibo districts, respectively.

The remains were retrieved from different sectors. Remains of at least 59 victims were reburied at Kiziguro memorial site.

 

Many Government officials and local leaders joined a mammoth crowd of mourners, who turned up for the burial.

 

The remains were discovered following testimonies and information obtained during the course of the past year.

 

At the event in Gatsibo, Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, urged the media to desist from hate reporting which he said can incite division and violence.

He urged the Rwandan community to endeavour to know the country’s history and uphold it’s culture.

In Kayonza, MP Theoneste Safari said that a culture of friendship and reconciliation ought to be embraced in order to enable survivors and Rwandans in general rebuild their lives.

The Governor of the Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, called on the public to join the fight against genocide ideology and to help promote unity and reconciliation.

She spoke of the need to tell the truth in order to foster reconciliation.

“It’s important that we accord a decent burial to the victims of the Genocide. Remembering and honouring the victims of the Genocide offers a chance for reconciliation with mutual respect,” she said.

Gatsibo is one of the areas that witnessed mass killings in April 1994 thanks largely to notorious extremist leaders like Jean Baptiste Gatete, the former Bourgmestre (mayor) who led the former Commune Murambi.

Gatete was later found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

On April 11, 1994 he is reported to have ordered the killing of Tutsi who had been gathered at Kiziguro church.

The head of Ibuka in Gatsibo District, Felicien Niyonziza, said that between 3500-3700 people were massacred on April 11, 1994 at Kiziguro Parish (Catholic Church) alone before the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) advanced into the area.

By the time RPA arrived, the Interahamwe militia had piled bodies in a 30 meter hole near the church.

Meanwhile, Jean Baptiste Murengezi, the executive secretary of the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors associations, Ibuka, in Kayonza, called on the population to willingly provide more information leading to recovery of remains of more victims.

“I strongly appreciate those who volunteered to show us the remains we are burying today”.

He explained that some people only get relieved when they see the remains of their families, relatives and friends get decent burial.

Charles Kanamugire, a survivor, said paying respect to those who perished is very important, especially in the lives of the survivors.

“Commemorating our loved ones is a priority and restores respect to all the families killed in the Genocide. We owe it to them,” said Kanamugire.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News