RUBAVU - As Rwandans yesterday commemorated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, religious leaders in Rubavu District condemned the Genocide, calling on residents to put the past behind them and embrace unity and reconciliation.
The call for unity was made at the St. Peter’s Church compound where hundreds of Tutsis from the district and nearby areas were murdered by Hutu extremists.
In Rubavu, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Tutsis were murdered in a hundred days in 1994.
“This is an ugly part of our history,” said Sheikh Kudra Mutarugera, head of the Islamic faith in Rubavu, Nyabihu and Ngororero.
“As religious leaders, we must be involved in changing our congregation’s mindset about the truth of our history”.
He noted that while religious organisations failed to foster unity among Rwandans in the past, this is the time to cultivate it through inter-faith association.
Pastor Masasu Murekezi emphasised the need to respect humanity, saying it is only God who has the right to take away ones’ life.
“We must understand the value of humanity; then we will know that the Genocide against the Tutsi was inhuman and should never happen again,” Masasu underscored.
The pastor observed that given the steps taken by the country’s leadership towards unity and reconciliation, the future was bright.
“The process of unity and reconciliation has been successful in healing the society so much that even other countries are coming here to learn from our reconciliation experience,” added Masasu.
Rubavu District Mayor, Sheikh Hassan Bahame, urged Rwandans to participate in all programmes scheduled for this week to keep the essence of commemoration alive and in their hearts.