GICUMBI – Congolese refugees at Gihembe camp on Tuesday commemorated for the seventh time the massacre of their kin in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi by Interahamwe militias.
Carrying placards, the refugees condemned the massacres and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the militias still at large in the DRC.
They also staged plays depicting the negative consequences of ethnic cleansing. The group called for collective efforts to uproot the militias from their motherland.
Addressing those present, Gihembe refugees’ chairman, Jean Nsengiyera appealed to the both the DRC government and the International community to apprehend and prosecute the Interahamwe militias, who carried out the massacres in collaboration with a local Congolese militia known as Mayi Mayi.
“After being defeated by Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) in 1994, the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi exported their horrendous acts against humanity into the DRC,” said Nsengiyera.
According to Nsengiyera, the massacres took place in North Kivu, Mirangi in Rutshuru, Mukoto, Ngungu in Masisi region and South Kivu town of Bukavu between 1996 and 2004.
“The militias further continued their massacres in the urban areas of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kamina. In addition, the Interahamwe crossed over to Burundi and massacred Banyamulenge refugees at Gatumba camp,” he added.
Gicumbi district education officer, Edward Twagirayezu, who represented Mayor Bonane Nyangezi, at the commemoration function, counseled the refugees not to despair but have courage, as life has to continue.
He said perpetrators of the massacres should be hunted down and prosecuted.
“Commemoration is the only way to avoid the re-occurrence of such heinous and barbaric acts against humanity,” he said.