Fatal Gatsibo accident was a community tragedy – mourners

A family member of one of the victims of the Gatsibo road accident that left 15 dead – on the spot – has described the horrific incident as a community tragedy.  
The wreckage of one of the vehicles that got involved in the accident in Gatsibo on Tuesday morning, claiming 15 lives and injuring several others. File.
The wreckage of one of the vehicles that got involved in the accident in Gatsibo on Tuesday morning, claiming 15 lives and injuring several others. File.

A family member of one of the victims of the Gatsibo road accident that left 15 dead – on the spot – has described the horrific incident as a community tragedy.

Bosco Butera, who lost a brother in the accident spoke to The New Times shortly after the funeral service, saying the pain was unbearable but the support from the neighbours was comforting.

“The support from our neighbours and friends has been really overwhelming. They took the accident as a community tragedy which it was,” Butera said.

His brother, Claude Butera, was one of the six victims from Tuesday’s fatal road accident who were yesterday laid to rest in Gatsibo district. The six were residents of Gatsibo district.

Residents and families gathered in Kiziguro and Kiramuruzi catholic churches to pray for the victims and confort the bereaved.

The deadly accident involved two passenger vans. More than 20 people were critically injured.

 Inside the two churches, the mood was somber as friends and relatives broke down in tears throughout the service.

“These are obviously difficult times, not only for you as families but also for the district’s population because of the work the deceased did,” Father Edouard Twizeyimana, of Kiziguro Parish, told mourners.

He told friends and families that whatever happens their trust in God should never be shaken.

“It will be a very difficult time for us, but we know God will pull us through. He always shows up in these hard times,” Twizeyimana added.

Following the emotional service, hundreds of mourners walked from the churches to the cemeteries in Kiramuruzi and Kiziguro sectors where the deceased were buried.

Those that were laid to rest included; Chantal Benegusenga, Director, Gitoke Health Centre, Lydia Mutanga, a nurse at Rugarama Health Centre, Onesephore Hakuzimana, a nurse who was working at Nyabiheke Refugee Camp, and Jean Claude Butera, an agriculture officer of Gatsibo district.

The other two are the driver of one of the buses that collided, John Twagirayezu, and his conductor, only known as Matata.

The bereaved family members that The New Times spoke to said that the pain was too much but they were comforted by the emotional support.

Anastazia Gatera, a sister to the deceased agronomist, could not hold her tears, as she cried all the time.

“I can’t find words, I am just devastated…this world is so cruel,” she said as she broke down.

Following the accident that occurred at Ndatemwa Village in Kiziguro Sector, along the Kigali-Kagitumba highway, the critically injured were airlifted to national hospitals including King Faisal Hospital, the Central University Teaching Hospital, Kigali (CHUK) and at the Rwanda Military Hospital.

By yesterday, those at CHUK were said to be improving, according to medics at the facility while one of the three at the Military Hospital, has been referred to King Faisal.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Dr Emmanuel Kayibanda, a surgeon at King Faisal Hospital, said they received eight patients who were the most critically injured.

“They were badly injured, the condition was so critical but our physicians have been working tirelessly and we are hopeful they will all improve and no life will be lost,” Kayibanda said.

 Additional reporting by Athan Tashobya

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