GATSIBO- The remains of 76 Genocide victims were yesterday accorded a descent burial at Kiziguro Genocide Memorial site in Gatsibo District.
About 11,000 people are buried at the site, a killing base of the notorious former Murambi Commune Mayor, Jean Baptiste Gatete, who was recently handed a life sentence for Genocide crimes by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Thousands of mourners from all walks of life, survivors and local leaders who converged at Kiziguro cemetery, lay wreaths on the mass graves.
The burial ceremony was preceded by a Sunday night vigil held at Kiziguro parish where thousands of Tutsis were brutally killed.
“I’m a survivor from Kigali but I decided to travel to Kiziguro memorial site with my family to join others in paying tribute to the remains of our brothers and sisters, who were killed because of their ethnic group,” Isaiah Mushumba said.
“Gatete is remembered for a lot of heinous crimes here. This memorial site has a lot to tell about the Genocide that took place in our country,” He added.
Scores of survivors from Kiziguro parish testified that Gatete, who started killings in the early 1990’s, was first believed to be a good leader.
“When Gatete took over Murambi commune, we expected him, as an educated person, to transform and develop our district. But he instead turned into a ruthless killer who hunted Tutsis from all corners of the district,” one survivor said.
During the burial, Gatsibo District Mayor, Ambrose Ruboneza told mourners that Rwandans regret why their country is globally known because of the tragic Genocide, but noted that the country has rebuilt itself, and under the leadership of RPF, it is gaining respect and a good reputation.
“With all this history of Murambi commune we have witnessed here, Gatete consistently denied Genocide crimes until he was proven guilty… but what he did here is self evident and he deserves the punishment,” he said.