Remains of 200 Genocide victims in Kayonza District still missing

Remains of at least 200 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are still missing in Gahini Sector, Kayonza District, 22 years after the Genocide.
Gahini residents participate in a walk to remember during the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on Wednesday. (Stephen Rwembeho)
Gahini residents participate in a walk to remember during the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on Wednesday. (Stephen Rwembeho)

Remains of at least 200 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are still missing in Gahini Sector, Kayonza District, 22 years after the Genocide.

Area survivors said during a commemoration event on Wednesday.

 

According to Damascene Turatsinze, a Genocide survivor, perpetrators are still adamant to reveal where they dumped their victims’ bodies.

 

Remains of only one victim were buried at Rukara memorial site on Wednesday, after a year’s search.

 

“It is a shame that people who killed our relatives and neighbours cannot show us where they dumped them.

Most of them live with us today, after serving time in jail,” Turatsinze said.

“We counted victims based on the people that lived here who never managed to escape the killings. The number is not less than 200, this is just in a small area known as ‘VIDEO’ in Gahini sector. The families that were involved either directly or indirectly in their massacres have refused to reveal where they dumped them,” he added.

Another survivor, Gertrude Mukagatare, decried the fact that they have been denied the chance to accord their loved ones a decent burial.

“If only they could show us where they dumped the bodies then we can try to give them a befitting burial. Unfortunately, they have all refused,” she lamented.

The commemoration speeches were preceded by a six kilometer walk to remember that attracted residents, clergymen and government leaders.

Senator Mike Rugema advised Genocide perpetrators to tell the truth so that the victims get decent burial, adding that in some areas it had been done successfully.

“It’s lamentable that after the whole year of sensitisation, we got remains of only one victim. Let people in this area behave just like others and reveal the whereabouts of the victims’ remains. This will relieve both the families of the perpetrators and the victims,” he said.

Jean Baptiste Murengezi, the Ibuka coordinator in the district, however, said they remain optimistic that at some point the whereabouts of the remains would be revealed.

“We begun preparations in advance so that some remains can be identified and given decent burial and we are optimistic some perpetrators will speak out in due course,” he said.

Over 8,830 bodies were buried at the site, a number eye witnesses say is very small compared to the known number victims.

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