KARONGI- A seven-day sensitisation workshop on various government development programmes targeting ex-militias in Karongi District, ended with a call on participants to contribute towards national development.
Over 800 former members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia attended the workshop.
FDLR is made up of former Interahamwe militias and ex-soldiers, the majority of whom are responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The exercise is part of a rehabilitation and reintegration programme which aims at helping the ex-combatants forge a way forward as they return to civilian life.
The former rebels, who were either captured or laid down their arms and chose to repatriate, pledged full commitment towards nation building.
Lt Col. Ibrahim Bisengimana, a former combatant who defected earlier this year, observed that the country is on an impressive developmental path.
“So many things have changed ever since we left the country, and I am sure a number of our former colleagues do not know that,” he said.
Bisengimana encouraged fighters still holed up in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to lay down their arms and return home.
"I call upon all those still at large to come back home and help foster development rather than starve and die in the DRC forests," he said.
“The Genocide against the Tutsi was prepared and victims were killed in a planned move because the killers intended to exterminate all Tutsis,” said 38-year old Jean Pierre Habimana, another defector.
He noted that Gacaca courts have been a success story in post Genocide Rwanda because they base their judgments on testimonies from people who were present at the time.
Jean Baptiste Bikorimana, an official from the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, reminded the former fighters that those who deny Genocide harbour their own selfish interests.
“We should jointly work to stop people with those bad and selfish motives,” he said.