NYAMAGABE — 48 officials from Kayonza district in the Eastern Province Friday visited the Murambi Genocide memorial site to pay homage to the victims of the 1994 Genocide.
The site accommodates over 50,000 remains.
The delegation led by Anita Umutesi, the district Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs, comprised of Sector Executive Secretaries, directors of units and members of the District Advisory Council. They handed over a cheque of Frw 200,000 towards care of the site.
Briefing the mourners, Francois Rusanganwa, the chief guide at the former technical school turned killing ground, said that victims killed at Murambi were tricked by local authorities that they would be protected from assailants.
"Tutsis were mobilised from all over the surrounding places and encouraged to assemble at the technical school. They were duped into leaving their hiding places with a promise of better security but only to be slaughtered two weeks later," said Rusanganwa.
"The killings at the school were done systematically because the killers took their time. They compiled lists and when they were sure that all their victims had assembled at the school, the slaughter began," He said.
"People were kept for two weeks at the school without food. Many died due to starvation but the main motive of the killers was to send a false message to those in hiding that the school was secure since nobody had been killed in two weeks," Rusanganwa, also a survivor of the Murambi massacres said.
Rusanganwa recalled that the victims were served a meal of rice the day before they were killed. It was the only meal they had had in two weeks.
The officials were given a guided tour of the fourteen rooms containing preserved remains of some of the Genocide victims. Rusanganwa said that plans are underway to have the remains treated with special chemicals so that they can serve as a lesson to future generations.
Umutesi said that the visit was meant to show the leaders the real picture of the Rwandan Genocide.
"Nobody remains the same after visiting this memorial site. This visit is meant to pay homage to our fellow country men who were innocently killed and to renew our resolve to fight anything that may destroy human life," said Umutesi.
She revealed that cases of genocide ideology are minimal in their district but noted that it does not mean complacency on the part of district authorities.
She said that the exercise to build houses for vulnerable Genocide survivors is picking up well in their district. Construction of 80 houses has been completed and 337 more have reached the finishing stage.
Immaculate Mukarwego, the Nyamagabe district Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs cautioned local leaders against genocide ideology, stressing that the 1994 Genocide in which about one million people died, was planned by leaders like themselves.
This year’s mourning week which starts on April 7, will be marked under the theme: ‘Remembering Genocide, fighting Genocide ideology and helping Genocide Survivors.’