GATSIBO-Trauma yesterday engulfed mourners in Murambi Sector, Gatsibo District as hundreds of residents commemorated the Genocide against Tutsi.
At the Rwankuba Cell playground, home and killing base of former Mayor, Jean Baptiste Gatete, scores of survivors recounted horrible nights characterised by mass killings organised by Gatete and his accomplices.
Some of the survivors who testified at the commemoration said that Gatete, in collaboration with one, Bizimungu, organised killings as early as October 1990.
Gatete, was recently handed a life sentence for Genocide by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
“I remember on October 1, 1990, I was still asleep at around 6 AM when I heard wailing in the neighbourhood. On waking up, we found out that one of our neighbours had been murdered,” Jean Damascene Ngarambe, one of the survivors recalled.
Ngarambe added that Genocide in the former Rwankuba Sector and Murambi Commune started earlier compared to elsewhere in the country.
“When Gatete realised that the RPA had reached Kagitumba, he ordered mass killings. Many people were murdered while others were detained on accusations of being RPA accomplices,” Ngarambe recounted.
At the commemoration, various leaders urged residents, especially survivors, not to be held back by bitter memories, but instead focus on the country’s development.
The Commander of the RDF 511 Brigade, Col. Charles Karamba, reassured mourners of the government’s commitment in fostering unity among all citizens.
“After all that happened to our country, the government has embarked on rebuilding national unity and reconciliation, maintaining peace and security within and outside the country,” he said.
He noted that despite major achievements, poverty remains the number one enemy.
“The main enemy we are remaining with in our country is poverty. But joint measures have been put in place to fight it,” he observed.
Elsewhere, in Nyagatare District, the commemoration was held in Kiyombe Sector. District Mayor, Fred Sabitti Atuhe, urged survivors not to be overcome by despair.
“The government is behind you in all development aspects. You should focus on shaping your future,” he urged.