At least 620 children and women tortured and brutally murdered in Sovu and Rubona cells of Rwamagana District during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi were honoured on Wednesday.
Eighty-three children, 350 women and 167 men were killed in what is still remembered as one of the most brutality ever to be suffered by mankind.
The ceremony that attracted hundreds of people from across the country was also attended by some members of the East African Legislative Assembly, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Jacqueline Kamanzi, and Governor Odette Uwamariya, the governor of Eastern Province.
Jean Pierre Nkuranga, who spoke on behalf of the survivors, said Hutu and Tutsi neighbours lived in harmony until the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana.
“Habyarimana’s death was the climax. Genocide had all along been planned, we were surprised when one day all Hutu neighbours turned their swords on us. Massive murders followed. Tutsi were hunted down like wild animals,” he said.
“Rape was common… thousands of Tutsi women were raped, sexually abused with objects such as sharp sticks or gun barrels, held in sexual slavery or sexually mutilated. They were dehumanised and subjugated. Children were cut into pieces and thrown into pit latrine just like their mothers,” he said.
Kamanzi said the role of children in nation building should be emphasised, adding that it was a shame the perpetrators of the genocide targeted the vulnerable.
“We must remember our ugly past so as to shape a better future. Unity, peace and security are the foundation of everything. The little children here must take note of this. They should learn about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Children must grow up to avoid discrimination, hate and divisionism,” she said.
Governor Uwamariya reiterated the importance of reconciliation and unity.
“The ugly testimonies of hatred and massacre of the vulnerable is shocking…it must however give us the courage to fight any reemergence of such evil. The actors were possessed by evil, this must be dumped in our history as we move for a new united society,” Uwamariya said.