NGOMA - Genocide survivors from Rukumberi Sector, Ngoma District in the Eastern Province, on Sunday, recognised four people for their heroic acts during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Each was given a cow for protecting Tutsis during the mayhem. The rescuers were identified as Protais Rutagarama, Augustin Ndayitabi, Melanie Mukamihigo and Anathalie Mukangabo.
“We are recognising their outstanding heroic acts and bravery. They put their lives at risk to save fellow Rwandans and some of them lost their lives in the process,” said Pierre Damien Girishuti, who heads the association of Rukumberi Genocide survivors.
He called upon survivors to identify people who saved them and earmark them for honour.
One of those honoured, Rutagarama, fought off armed policemen as they attempted to kill Tutsis by mobilising support to protect women and children.
Ndayitabi, who was fêted posthumously, was recognised for fighting alongside his deceased son, only known as Nkusi, against the militias from April 7 to 11, 1994 as they tried to protect Tutsis. Ndayitabi, along with his family, was shot dead on April 11.
Melanie Mukamihigo saved four children and among them was a three-month old baby, while the fourth rescuer, Anathalie Mukangabo, who lived in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Rukumberi, hid two people in a manhole in the backyard of her house.
Close to 40,000 Tutsis were killed in Rukumberi in 1994, with some of them accorded a decent burial at Rukumberi Memorial Site.
A fundraising drive, headed by Emmanuel Muvunyi , the Executive Secretary of the Teacher Service Commission, was launched to give the memorial site a facelift. He said the construction of the new monument will cost about US$1.4m, adding that what was important was to start the construction works.