Thousands gathered yesterday at Ruhanga memorial site to accord a decent burial to 52 remains of Genocide victims. Thirteen discovered recently, 23 years after the genocide.
Ruhanga Genocide Memorial is the former Ruhanga Episcopal Anglican Church (EAR Ruhanga) and includes a mass grave inside the building. It is located in Ruhanga cell, Rusororo sector, Gasabo district. This is the only Anglican parish which became a memorial site.
About 36,549 victims massacred from both inside the church and from surrounding areas are buried at the memorial site. Over 25,000 are those who sought refuge in the church.
The Ruhanga victims are remembered and honoured on April 15 every year, a day the victims were gruesomely killed after resisting several attacks by Interahamwe and the then national army.
Survivors said that although it is painful they lost their relatives during the 1994 genocide, what pains more is that some of them were not accorded a decent burial.
Rev. Emmanuel Rutabandama, whose relatives’ bodies were accorded decent burial said it was painful that some of the victims are yet to get decent burial while those who killed them are there and called for the government and the civil society including churches to work jointly so that those who are aware of the whereabouts of victims are involved and reveal them.
“Some of those who killed our relatives were released by Gacaca courts after they apologized while others are serving time in prisons but they cannot tell us the whereabouts of our perished relatives, we wonder if this can’t hamper unity and reconciliation programme,” he said
Innocent Ngaruye, a genocide survivor in Ruhanga testified how they used stones and traditional weapons, to try and counter attacks the Interahamwe and FAR soldiers who were using heavy weapons and helicopters to kills Tutsis in Ruhanga area.
“We protected ourselves the whole week but they killers would keep killing us until they brought helicopters and heavy guns, we were fighting using stones. Everyone was weak and the enemy surrounded the hill and killed almost everyone,” he said.
“What is shocking is that we still do not know the whereabouts of some of our deceased relatives,” he added.
“Not revealing where the genocide victims are is a shame for perpetuators and a sign that they still have the Genocide ideology,” said Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, Executive Secretary of the National Commission of Fight Against Genocide Ideology (CNLG).
Donatile Mukabarisa, Speaker of the National Assembly hailed Ruhango victims and urged survivors and Rwandans in general to soldier on and fight the Genocide ideology especially, teaching the youth that the ideology was poisonous.