KARONGI – Christine Prietto, the Mayor of Commune Dieulefit, France, is in Karongi District on a week-long official visit, aimed at strengthening ties between the two districts.
Prietto is expected to tour all developmental activities supported by her district.
She held discussions with local leaders and residents on how to further strengthen ties.
Prietto said she was particularly impressed with Rwanda’s recovery, 17 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
However, she regretted that, instead of intervening, her compatriots led by top French military officers, aided an extremist government in exterminating its own people in 1994.
“Given the history between the two countries, one could never imagine that we would eventually become friends again,” she noted.
Karongi is one of the districts where the killings of the Tutsi during the Genocide were mainly fuelled by Opération Turquoise, the French military deployment that instead provided cover to Interahamwe militia and the entire genocidal machinery, as they crossed into DRC.
She expressed admiration for the Rwandan culture, which has been used as a tool to foster unity and development amongst the Rwandan people.
The French mayor is accompanied by a group of French nationals, dubbed Intore za Dieulefit.
The group has donated 60 cows, and constructed schools and houses for Genocide survivors, who were abandoned by French troops during the Genocide.
Bernard Kayumba, the Mayor of Karongi, welcomed his counterpart’s contribution and expressed optimism that the initiative would strengthen ties.