Contaminated as it was, lake Muhazi save me – survivor

 EASTERN PROVINCE RWAMAGANA — A survivor who gave his name as Mulisa drunk from a blood contaminated Lake Muhazi, to survive the 1994 Genocide.


RWAMAGANA — A survivor who gave his name as Mulisa drunk from a blood contaminated Lake Muhazi, to survive the 1994 Genocide.

This was part of the many testimonies heard during a memorial service over the weekend, organized for genocide victims who were dumped in water. A large number of Rwamagana residents attended the early morning function organized by Dukundane Family. It was the second commemoration for genocide victims who were either killed or drowned alive in water bodies throughout the country.

"I spent five days in the waters of Lake Muhazi drinking water mixed with blood to survive. I could see some blood spots floating on water, but I drunk the water to survive," Mulisa said.

Mulisa added, "I saw Interahamwe militia chopping a kid and parts of the body were dropping into the lake as they (Interahamwe) shouted "let fish feed on your flesh.".

To survive, Mulisa said he used a banana-log-fiber which enabled him to float on the waters for five days. He recalled that whenever Interahamwe could go away he would hide his tool in a strategic place for use the following day. He said the log helped him and about five others he could lift including his own sister.

"Killings around Lake Muhazi started on April 12, 1994. Many people who were fleeing killings in former Gicumbi, Kayonza had gathered on this hill where we are today," he recalled. "We defended ourselves for three days till April 15 when they brought big guns and started shelling us with gun fire," he continued, adding that there was no escape apart from being forced into the lake.

"I remember my former teacher bidding me farewell because he was so exhausted. He drowned into deep water as I watched him. I told him that I am following him shortly," Mulisa narrated.

Speaking as the chief mourner, MP Evariste Kalisa, noted that 14 years after the genocide it is unfortunate to find remains of the victims of genocide still scattered when those who participated in the killings continue to move freely, harboring genocide ideology.

The MP appealed to the youth in the country to emulate Dukundane Family to play important role in the development of the nation and protect the nation from any further outbreak of genocide. In particular, he urged students who had turned up in big numbers to drop genocide ideology.

He also appealed to provincial and district leaders to build genocide memorial sites that are quite different from normal cemetery for future reference. He explained the memorial sites should be built to suit the standards of Kigali and or Murambi genocide memorial sites.

Denyse Umwali who represented provincial governor Ephraim Kabaija, sounded a stern warning to people who still habour genocide ideology, urging Rwandans to forget the history and live together in unity.

Egide Gatari of Dukundane Family observed that quite often those who drowned in water during the genocide have not been accorded due respect.


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