Congolese refugees call for justice

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

MUHANGA— A large group of Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese in Muhanga have protested over failure by the Burundi government  to bring to justice people who killed their colleagues at Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi, in 2004.

Crowds of people carrying placards, and chanting ‘Never Again’ took to the streets of Gitarama to denounce the killings before proceeding to Muhanga stadium where they made speeches.

The protest was organised by their association called Gatumba Foundation.

The protesters accused the Congolese and Burundian government soldiers of ignoring the killings committed by Burundi based rebel group and others based in the Great Lakes region.

“The killings in Gatumba have never been recognized as genocide. We want the accused nations and the United Nations to recognize this fact and go ahead to prosecute genocide perpetrators who include, Agato Rwasa and Pasteur Habimana among others,” Donation Shimbi Gasosi, a representative of Gatumba Foundation said.

Shimbi added that the same people who carried out the genocide in Rwanda continued to carry out similar massacres in other countries in the region.

Other survivors said that the US based Gatumba Foundation was established to follow up the deaths of the victims and the foundation has asked the UN and concerned nations to bring the killers to book, but nothing has been done.  

The protest was preceded by a genocide commemoration during which mourners prayed and laid wreaths on graves of Rwandan victims at Nyabisindu Genocide Site.

Eugene Karangwa, the Ibuka President in Muhanga also asserted that the killings in Burundi were part of the Rwanda Genocide.

Addressing protestors, Karangwa urged them to fight genocide ideology in the Great Lakes region by cooperating with the Rwandan government; which is fostering unity and reconciliation.

The 164 Kinyarwanda-speaking victims that prompted the protest were brutally murdered on the 13 and 14 of August 2004 at Gatumba camp-where they had sought refuge to escape the massacres in DR Congo.

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