Remains of 568 Genocide victims get decent burial in Ruhango

Remains of 568 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Sunday accorded a decent burial at Kinazi Genocide memorial site in Ruhango District where survivors called for arrest of fugitives still at large.
(L-R) Ruhango District mayor Francois Xavier Mbabazi, Speaker Mukabalisa and Minister Uwacu at the event in Kinazi. (John Mbaraga)
(L-R) Ruhango District mayor Francois Xavier Mbabazi, Speaker Mukabalisa and Minister Uwacu at the event in Kinazi. (John Mbaraga)

Remains of 568 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Sunday accorded a decent burial at Kinazi Genocide memorial site in Ruhango District where survivors called for arrest of fugitives still at large.

Kinazi, formerly Ntongwe commune is one of the sectors in Ruhango, where many Tutsi were killed during the Genocide.

Some of suspected killers are said to have been Burundians who had taken refuge in Rwanda.

After the reburial, Ruhango residents gathered at Kinazi ground for a commemoration ceremony.

The president of Mayaga Genocide survivors’ foundation Alexis Rusagara, who survived at Kinazi, commended the Rwanda Patriotic Front, saying no one could have survived if it was not for their intervention.

He called for renovation of the Kinazi Genocide memorial site which is in a sorry state.

“When people living in Kigali return to their home villages they take along grossaries for their families, but Genocide survivors bring wreaths to lay on our parents’ graves. That’s why we want the memorial in good state because its home to our families,” Rusagara said.

Rusagara called on authorities to step up efforts to bring to book all Genocide perpetrators who were sentenced by Gacaca but remain at large.

He also called for bringing to book former Burundian refugees who participated in the killings and fled the country after the genocide.

“It hurts Genocide survivors to see perpetrators go scot-free,” he said.

Egide Nkuranga, the vice president of Ibuka, an umbrella of Genocide survivors associations, said the issue of Burundians who took part in the Genocide has taken long to be handled.

He urged youthful Genocide survivors who don’t know their roots to remain strong, and urged elderly people who knew their descent to tell the young ones.

Julienne Uwacu, the Minister for Sports and Culture, asked survivors to remain hopeful for a better future despite challenges.

At the event, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa, called on perpetrators to reveal the where abouts of remains of the victims so as to accord them decent burial.

“Genocide survivors have willingly forgiven people who killed their families without even asking for apology. But I don’t understand why some of these people do not want to tell us where they dumped their victims,” she said.

She said that people who got a chance to bury their families, relatives and neighbours have somehow overcome bitterness.

Mukabalisa said there is a need for collaboration to identity Burundians who participated in the killings though right now it is difficult due to ongoing crisis in their country.

She, however, said the issue will be handled diplomatically once peace returns to Burundi.

She reminded residents of the importance of remembrance in fighting genocide ideology and committing to ‘never again’.

The Kinazi memorial site is home to more than 60,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

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