Saying that the Genocide against the Tutsi was caused by the presidential plane crash is an act of “torturing” survivors, Minister Kaboneka
In order to carry on the 23rdcommemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, during this commemoration week, a tour of different genocide memorials across the country was organized to commemorate the genocide and deeply understand its history at those particular memorials and surrounding areas.
On this 09th April 2017, it was the turn for Ntarama Genocide Memorial located in Ntarama Sector, Bugesera District where Honorable Francis Kaboneka , the Minister of Local Government teamed up with the citizens to commemorate the genocide victims laid to rest in the memorial.
The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi claimed over one million Tutsi. The Ntarama Genocide memorial is a rest home to over 5,000 genocide victims.
In their testimonies, Chantal Niwemugeni, who survived the genocide in Ntarama and Silas Ntamfurayishyari who saved several Tutsi in Ntarama, recapped the suffering endured by the Tutsi of Ntarama.
Niwemugeni said that after the presidential plane crashed down, his father told them that militiamen were going to exterminate them because their family figured on the list of Tutsi to be killed. Besides, her two brothers had joined RPF-Inkotanyi troops. Thereafter they went to the church of Ntarama as they thought that no one could kill them from God’s temple.
She said that the first time they were attacked by militiamen at the church, they resisted and succeeded to push back the militiamen which guarantee them peace as the sooner most, buses full of soldiers and gendarmes who loomed at the church started. They, gendarmes and government troops started to kill them by throwing grenades and tear gas while the militiamen were busy using traditional weapons to finish up those who were still alive.
She recounted that they finally left the church seriously wounded and fled to Butera, from where they hardly moved towards Kimpiri as they were being shot, pushed to the papyrus and thrown into rivers. Niwemugeni stayed in the papyrus until RPF troops arrived in Ntarama and rescue them.
Silas Ntamfurayishyari said that he was a soldier at Gako military barracks. He said that he was shocked by the persecutions of the Tutsi soldiers including some of his friends. He said that in 1992, he refused to deliver the Tutsi who had sought refuge in Rilima church to conseiller who wanted them killed. Ntamfurayishyari said that he rescued 18 Tutsi by taking them to Burundi and many others that he deprived of the militiamen in different periods.
Upon realizing that he was rescuing the Tutsi, his colleagues soldiers started to pursue him, however he successfully escaped and fled to Burundi where he later left to joined RPF troops. He regretted to have been member of the genocidal army but said he was proud to be in a Rwanda that is free of revisionism.
Francis Kaboneka, the minister for local government who was the guest of honour at the event the persecutions endured by the Tutsi of Bugesera in periods. He said that many Tutsi taken from different areas of the country were taken by force to Bugesera since 1959,1964,1971,1972 and 1992 so that they can be killed by the Tsetse fly. They lived in deplorable conditions but they endured with it. He said that the government settled Hutu in the surroundings of Bugesera so that they control the Tutsi and prevent them from escaping or fleeing the country.
During the above stated periods, the Tutsi of Bugesera were constantly massacred whereas those who survived were threatened until the eventual genocide in 1994.
He urged Rwandans to strive for a better for better life, to transcend the scars caused by the Genocide against the Tutsi, nurture the culture of unity and reconciliation to their offspring and fight against genocide ideology.
This year, the Genocide against the Tutsi is commemorated under the theme “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi- Fight against Genocide ideology- Build on our progress”.