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Kamonyi survivors pay tribute to genocide victims as IBUKA calls on residents help in finding missing bodies

Written by: Eric Nzabirinda and George Kalisa
Sunday, June 30th, 2019, 11:30

Survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and dozens of friends paid tribute to nealy 50 genocide victims who were killed  in Musambira Sector, Kamonyi District. They laid wreaths on the grave of Frederic Gakuba who was laid to rest at Gihogwe vllage in Buhoro cell


Speaking on behalf of survivors, Ephraim Karangwa called on residents to tip off local leaders where the remains of some 11 victims were dumped by the perpetrators so that they're accorded decent burial.


“We shall always request whoever knows the place where remains some victims, killed on this village, to tip off the leaders and we accord them decent burial,” Karangwa said June30 as he mentioned some names of genocide victims whose remains are not yet discovered.    


This was the third time the survivors of Musambira remember the 46 genocide victims who include the wiped out families of Frederic Gakuba, Dismas Rwabikumba, Faustin Rukumbiri and Anastase Ruzigaminturu.


Taking the mourners through the history of the gruesome massacres in the area, Karangwa said that the persecution of the Tutsi started in 1959 and repeated in 1973 prompting some to flee to Uganda and others to Kamonyi Catholic Parish.


“When they returned they found all their property had been looted by Hutu residents,” said Karangwa who survived from Kabgayi where he had sought refuge.  


 “Killings in what was Commune Musambira commenced on April19, 1994 when the former Burgomaster of the then Commune Taba, Jean Paul Akayezu, stormed Gihogwe village in a convoy escorted by Interahamwe, armed to the teeth, wielding with all sorts of weapons and they followed Akayezu’s directive to kill what he called Inyenzi,” said Karangwa.


“The first victim of torture was an old lady, Alviera Mukakimenyi (killed later) before they killed our people,” he added.  


He said he is grateful to the RPF-Inkotanyi led by H.E President Paul Kagame for having rescued them and will find their reward in Heaven for this heroic act and sacrifice to save innocent Tutsi “persecuted because of the way God created them”.

Mourners carrying a wreath towards a grave where the remains of  Frederic Gakuba are kept (PHOTO/Nzabirinda)


On his part Hon. Ernest Kamanzi, the area Member of Parliament and guest of Honour reminded mourners the essence of remembering the victims of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.


“We remember the love and respect we have for them,” said Kamanzi.


“Also, we remember the bad governance and genocide regimes that masterminded and implemented the genocide which led to a loss of over one million people, a great loss to our country and through this noble and passionate act of remembering we recognize that we stand with them as we continue to say never again will such a horrible history return to Rwanda,” added the Kamonyi legislator.


The MP called on residents to reveal any information pertaining to the whereabouts of the genocide victims not only to accord them decent burial but also strengthen the unity and reconciliation efforts in the country, rebuilt from ashes.


On the presence of the 1994 genocide deniers and revisionists, Kamanzi said it was a responsibility of all Rwandans to consolidate the achievements gained in the 25 years such as unity and reconciliation, and development by denouncing them.


He said Rwandans should use their resilience to improve their lives and continue rebuilding their homeland and he expressed gratitude to the residents of Musambira and Rwandans in general for contribution towards national development as well as support for the RPF-Inkotanyi led government.

Pacifique Murenzi, IBUKA official (PHOTO/Nzabirinda)


Pacifique Murenzi, IBUKA official urged residents to cooperate with the survivors’ association in locating the bodies of the genocide victims which are still missing.


The remains of 11 genocide victims killed at Gihogwe have not yet been found. Murenzi said this could in a way affect the harmony of people in the area, encouraging them to uphold truth and integrity - bedrocks for unity and reconciliation.  


“I am hopeful that when we come back next year there will be a breakthrough – just write a paper and throw it in the office of the local leaders, it will be a great service, indeed,” observed Murenzi.


However, he was impressed by the unity of the survivors and the rest of the citizens in Musambira.


“Despite recurrent lack of cooperation in locating survivors’ bodies, we celebrate the unity and cooperation in social and economic aspects like marriage and economic activities, and these are some of gains of good governance,” added Murenzi.


He said it's relevant to remember the victims robbed of dignity by fellow Rwandans and thus the responsibility of Rwandans to return their dignity along remembering what caused the genocide.     

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