Upcountry Insight: Who will stop the killings in Southern Province?

southern province HUYE — As Rwandans especially Genocide survivors watch the killing of their fellow survivors, one question draws in ones’ mind: Who will stop the killings?

southern province

HUYE — As Rwandans especially Genocide survivors watch the killing of their fellow survivors, one question draws in ones’ mind: Who will stop the killings?

On Thursday February 14, when the rest of the world was busy enjoying the saint Valentines fete, I was holed up in the remote Karama sector in Huye district. The matter at hand was not about the comfort and the love mood that had gripped Butare town that day, but to cover court ruling in a murder case of a Genocide survivor Paul Rutayisire.

If you have been an ardent follower of upcountry events, the mention of Karama sector should ring bells in your ears. Just to remind you: On the night of Monday October 15 at around 9.00pm, Rutayisire, formerly a Gacaca Judge of Kabulemera Court was brutally killed as he left a bar near his home.

He also doubled as the Vice President of Ibuka in the sector.So, on Thursday February 14, four people were handed life sentences for their role in the murder, while others were acquitted. The events that ensued after the reading of the verdict were cause for concern; for any peace loving citizen advocating for unity and reconciliation.

The wailing and sobbing of Genocide survivors who were not contented with freeing five suspects; followed by open confrontations and angry verbal exchanges between sections of people, shows the extent of grief among survivors.

The Genocide survivors lamented the continued gruesome killings of fellow Genocide survivors across the province.

And the killings seem not to halt. On Saturday February 16, at around 7.00 pm, Jacqueline Mukamanzi, a Genocide survivor was in the latest such incident brutally murdered as she also returned home. The deceased was also a cell executive secretary and head of Intore (a cultural group) in the district.

The attack took place in a densely populated residential area. The assailants used machetes to cut her body into pieces. However, what is incomprehensible is the fact that no body came to her rescue.

The nature of the gruesome murders is not any different from those employed during the 1994 Genocide. This clearly points to the fact that the genocide ideology and the desire to finish the ‘unfinished business’ is still entrenched in people’s minds.

These are not the only cases. The trend of the killings dates back in the previous years. Last year alone six Genocide survivors were brutally murdered in different parts of the province.

Whenever there are killings, someone may quickly blame the police, the local authorities or the army, but these people can not provide sufficient answers.

Rwandans of all walks of life should brace themselves for a long and wearisome journey as we strive to eradicate the Genocide ideology from our people.

The Unity and Reconciliation Commission has done a commendable job, but that seem to be its farthest stretch. The sacredness of life should be taught right from the local pub to the pulpit.

The evil heart that is inherent in some people is hard to decipher. It is very difficult to tell the intensions of your nearest neighbour. That is why we all need to be everyone’s policeman.

Government cannot provide a policeman for every homestead in the country. This therefore, calls for the community’s involvement in ensuring security for each other; through stepped up night patrols and timely reporting of suspect characters to local authorities.

This approach has worked in the Eastern Province, where killings of the same nature had become the order of the day a few years back. It is when people learn to value the lives of others, that Rwandans will talk about true unity and reconciliation.


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