Nyabihu- Rwandans should draw lessons from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and focus on shaping their future, the president of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Bishop John Rucyahana, said yesterday.
He was speaking to thousands of mourners at Mukamira Genocide memorial site in Nyabihu District, at the reburial of over 40 Genocide victims, whose remains were recovered from the sectors of Mukamira, Karago, and Jenda.
“Despite the pain and frustrations, we need to make sure that we don’t live in the past. We should remember our fallen compatriots with the determination of making a difference. It should not be about to lament, and keep in grief, it is drawing strength out of this grief,” Rucyahana said.
According to testimonies, killings in Bigogwe area started before the 1994 Genocide, like a litmus test, where pro-government militia first put their killing tactics into practice. Hundreds of Tutsi in Bigogwe were subsequently killed and whose remains are still unaccounted for, survivors said.
Out of an estimated 7,000 Tutsi who were killed during the Genocide, in Bigogwe alone, 3,500 victims are yet to be recovered.
“The reality cannot be forgotten or distorted. If you say there was no Genocide, then resurrect the dead. The truth should be the light, to liberate those who killed in order to heal psychological disabilities,’’ the Bishop added.
Esperance Nyirankundimana, a survivor, recalled how they were hunted with dogs in Giswati forest. “Many died due to the cold, others were eaten by dogs, I grew up wondering whether God was on the Hutu’s side, because, a Tutsi was worthless, and their death meant nothing,’’ she recollected.
In another testimony, Bosco Ndagijimana, recalled that when his parents and siblings started killing the Tutsi, he risked his life by helping more than ten people to cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire.
“I hid in refugee camps,” he narrated, “but later, I turned out to be the most wanted by my fellow Hutus,” Ndagimana observed.
Nyabihu Mayor, Jean Baptista Nsengiyumva, revealed that two bodies were recently recovered under a residential house and requested the residents to volunteer information on where victims were dumped.