KIGALI - The visiting President of the Federal Republic of Germany Horst Köhler has expressed sorrow at the horror that befell Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide as the international community looked on. Addressing journalists shortly after visiting Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site yesterday, the German President extended sympathy to Rwanda and relatives of those who perished in the 100-day killing spree, and called on the international community to assist the country in its recovery and development processes. “What Rwanda went through is terrible and it is not a simple experience for anyone,” he said in German.
Köhler and his wife Eva Luise laid a wreath on one of the mass graves at the museum where about 250,000 victims were accorded a decent burial years after they had been horrendously butchered and thrown into mass graves.
“The entire world should join Rwanda in building reconciliation among its people and also appreciate what the government has managed to achieve,” Köhler said on the first day of his three-day state visit.
Köhler, who had earlier visited Uganda, also visited a youth centre in Kigali before holding talks with President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro last evening.
Also in attendance was the Mayor of Kigali City Aisa Kirabo Kacyira.
Germany, which colonised Rwanda before losing all its colonies following the World War I, hosts Ignace Murwanashyaka, the leader of a group largely blamed for the Genocide, which claimed an estimated one million people.
The rebel outfit, known currently as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) with its military bases in the neighbouring DR Congo, is largely composed of the remnants of the infamous Interahamwe militia and the defunct Rwanda Armed Forces (FAR).
At the Genocide memorial site, the visiting Head of State was also in company of the German Ambassador to Rwanda, Christian Clages, the Rwandan Ambassador to Germany Eugène Richard Gasana, ministers Protais Musoni (Local Government and Social Welfare) and Joseph Habineza (Youth, Culture and Sports), whose docket includes Genocide commemoration and prevention programmes.