KWIBUKA24, Commemoration event of NIRDA staff started at Murambi memorial site in Nyamagabe district.


Murambi memorial site.

The staff members of the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) were joined by Huye District officials, the police and residents to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

On 17th May 2018, NIRDA staff visited Murambi memorial site, the visit was intended to pay tribute to over 50,000 innocent Tutsi who were killed in 1994 Genocide and to get understand the tragedy befallen to the Tutsi of Nyamagabe and entire southern part of Rwanda.

When the killings started, Tutsi in the region tried to hide at a local church. However, the bishop and mayor lured them into a trap by sending them to the technical school, claiming that French troops would protect them there.

On April 16, 1994, about 65,000 Tutsi ran to the school. After the victims were told to gather there, water was cut off and no food was available, so that the people were too weak to resist. After defending themselves for a few days using stones, the Tutsi were overrun on April 21.

The French soldiers disappeared and the school was attacked by Hutu Interahamwe militiamen. Some 45,000 Tutsi were murdered at the school, and almost all of those who managed to escape were killed the next day when they tried to hide in a nearby church. “Said Musoni Protais the memorial manager

 Site manager also stressed that, French brought in heavy equipment to dig several pits where many thousands of bodies were placed. They then placed a volleyball court over the mass graves in an attempt to hide what happened. Among the bodies currently displayed are many children and infants.

He added that, the memorial was founded on 21 April 1995. The site contains 50,000 graves. The school building is now a genocide museum exhibiting the skeletons and preserved bodies of some of the thousands of people killed in former Gikongoro Province in 1994.


 

              

NIRDA staff pay tribute to Tutsi victims buried in Murambi genocide grave.

Additionally, to museum, classrooms, huge pits visited, the staff finally pay tribute to Tutsi victims killed in 1994 buried in Murambi graveyard, where we were also told that there are a lot of work to do on this memorial site like preserving the Tutsi bodies well and bury them in respect.

                

Acting DG Claire Mukeshimana writing in the visitor’s book.

The Murambi visit was preceded with a night vigil and later a walk to remember from the NIRDA offices to Ruhande Genocide Memorial Site, where mainly former students and staff members of the University of Rwanda and affiliated institutions are laid to rest.

              

 NIRDA Acting Director General Claire MUKESHIMANA together with Dr. Deogène Bideri lighting the candle during the night vigil at NIRDA-Huye Station.

             

NIRDA Staff, Genocide survivors, Huye district officials and residents on 18th May organized a walk to remember, the walk started from the NIRDA- Huye station premises heading to the Ruhande Memorial site in Huye where former UR staff , students and NIRDA employees who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi laid to rest.

 

             

NIRDA BOD Chairperson Steve Mutabazi and CNLG Legal Advisor Dr. Diogène Bideri lay a wreath at the memorial site.

Here, members laid wreaths in honor of the Genocide victims, after which they walked back to the NIRDA memorial monument where the main event of the day was held.

Belthilde Mukangango’s testimony;

I still recall the horrors of the 1994 genocide and my survival depended on many factors one being the family I was staying with.

“I feel bad when people allege that the killings were triggered by the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane. It was all planed way back and we always knew that there would be killings targeting Tutsi but not to that magnitude” she narrated.

Mukangango who used to work as a cleaner at the research center told her story with a lot of pain saying that it took her time to reconcile with what happened and that God was the reason she survived.

“The Interahamwe were brutal and killed after torturing the victims. As we grew up, I didn’t know anything about being a Tutsi or Hutu but we were reminded and segregated against at places of work way before the Genocide” she explained

Before long, people started to have small meetings and it was not until much later, that I realized the meetings were targeting Tutsi and were about the Genocide.

“Today all that is past and I forgave those that were behind those atrocities. What happened during the 1994 Genocide should never happen again. I thank the Government for the good leadership and the way it has stood beside us and helped us reconstruct our lives” she added

Giving her speech, the acting Director General Claire MUKESHIMANA thanked all those that attended the commemoration and also thanked the government for setting aside a period for people to remember their loved ones killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

She called upon all those that have information about the whereabouts of the bodies of people who died during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis to come forth so that they can be accorded a decent burial.

“It’s been 24 years since we lost our loved ones and many bodies have not been found. People should come out and help us to locate these bodies so we can give them a decent burial. This is the least that we can do for them, to give them the respect they so much deserve,” Claire told the mourners.

She also called for concerted efforts to fight the genocide ideology.

“It’s imperative for people to be taught about the laws concerning the genocide and those denying it will be prosecuted,” Claire said.

CNLG legal advisor Dr. Diogène Bideri, noted that every single person in one way or another was affected by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and that the effects still hurt the country’s development to this day, mainly the ideology.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to fight the ideology and to make sure that we unite to build a better nation and not to fight or discriminate against each other,” he added.

 

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