Rwanda: Over 9,000 Genocide Victims Get Decent Burial

The remains of 9,181 genocide victims in Kigali City were on May 26, 2022, accorded a decent burial at Nyanza memorial site, in Kicukiro district.

The remains were exhumed from different places in the districts of Nyarugenge and Kicukiro.

Of these, 9,000 genocide remains were discovered in Kabuga-Gahoromani, a densely populated neighbourhood on the outskirts of the City of Kigali in Kicukiro district, Masaka sector.

Over 181 genocide remains were discovered in Nyarugenge sector in University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) Gitega sector, and Mageragere sector in Nyarugenge district.

The burial was part of 28th commemoration of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Pudence Rubingisa, City of Kigali Mayor said that Rwandans should disclose where genocide victims were dumped during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi so that they get decent burial.

“After 28 years since RPA stopped 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, we are still exhuming genocide victims. This means that by according decent burial to the victims, we play a big role in healing the wounded hearts of genocide survivors and pave the way for fostering unity and reconciliation,” he said.

He said that efforts are going on to gather evidence so as to discover and exhume more genocide remains for them to get decent burial.

“As we speak now, there are other genocide remains we recently discovered in Rwezamenyo sector of Nyarugenge district. Now we are still searching while gathering more evidence,” he said.

Rubingisa urged Kigali City dwellers and Rwandans in general, to intensify efforts in fighting against genocide ideology and those trivialising the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

Claire Ingabire, one of the genocide survivors whose deceased relatives-parents, siblings, her mother’s cousins- were buried on Thursday May 26 , commended the efforts that have been put in searching and discovering genocide remains for decent burial.

“My heart is healing after decently burying my relatives whom I have found after 28 years, ever since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi happened in Rwanda. I was only four years old when it was executed. I have been experiencing a sorrowful life over the past 28 years, due to lack of information about where my relatives had been dumped after being killed,” she said.

Ingabire testified that she tried several times to report that there were genocide remains where houses had been set up, but some people could hide the information.

“The truth was discovered in April this year after pulling down the set up houses and found 77 genocide victims in Rwampala cell,” she said.

She urged all Rwandans to share information about the whereabouts of genocide victims, which she says is part of healing and reconciliation.

Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the Minister for National Unity and Civic Engagement (MINUBUMWE) urged genocide survivors to continue striving for resilience, despite some having not found their relatives for decent burial.

“The past 28 years is a considerable number and those who have information about the whereabouts of genocide remains should be telling the truth now. Those hiding information still want to hurt genocide survivors and it is a sign of genocide ideology and denial,” he said.

Genocide remains discovered in hospitals

Bizimana said that some of the over 9,000 genocide victims who were accorded decent burial were discovered in different hospitals including University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).

“Normally hospitals are set up to save the lives of people, but they were used to kill Tutsi. We have recorded 68 medical doctors who were convicted of committing 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

There are also 89 nurses and other hospital workers who were convicted. This means a total of 157 doctors, nurses, hospital workers were convicted of genocide-related crimes. This should be a lesson to all people who want to build a peaceful country,” he said.

He said that at least 26 doctors from University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB) and Kabutare hospital alone were convicted for genocide.

“Most of these were teaching medical courses in the former National University of Rwanda,” he said.

In the southern province, 36 doctors and 49 nurses and workers in hospitals were convicted, while 15 doctors, 10 nurses and workers in hospitals in Kigali City were convicted.

At least 17 medical doctors and 30 nurses and workers in hospitals in Northern, Eastern and Western regions committed genocide.

“Of these, there were also high profile people. These include Dr. Theodore Sindikubwabo, who was the interim president of the government that executed the Genocide, was a medical doctor. There is also Dr. Straton Nsabumukunzi who was an Agriculture Minister. He was a medical doctor and also a lecturer at university. There is Dr. Jean Baptiste Ndarihoranye who was the Health Minister in 1991, and in 1994 he was head of King Faisal hospital, among many others,” he noted.

Bizimana said that some of these perpetrators have evaded justice and therefore more efforts to bring them to book are needed.

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