#Kwibuka23 activities during commemoration week

Kigali, 06 April 2017

This year, Rwanda marks the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Themed “Remember the Genocide against the Tutsi – Fight Genocide Ideology – Build on Our Progress”, this year’s commemoration will be an occasion for Rwandans from all walks of life to pay tribute to the more than one million innocent lives lost and visit the memorials where victims are buried.
On 7 April 2017, events will be held at national level and in villages to begin the National Commemoration Week. Throughout the week, Rwandans throughout the country will reiterate their commitment to fight genocide ideology and reflect on the country’s journey of unity and reconciliation in the last 23 years. The Commemoration Week will end on 13 April 2017 with an event to HONOUR politicians killed for opposing the genocidal government.

MOURNING WEEK ACTIVITIES:

  • 7 April: Lighting the Flame of Remembrance, Walk to Remember and Night Vigil
  • 8 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Nyarubuye Memorial Center
  • 9 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Ntarama Memorial Center
    Café Litéraire at Rwanda Revenue Authority
  • 10 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Bisesero Memorial Center,
  • 11 April 2017: Kwibuka Nyanza- Kicukiro
  • 12 April 2017: Visit and Commemoration at Murambi Memorial Center
  • 13 April 2017: Official Closing of Commemoration Week at Rebero

Minister of Sports and Culture, Uwacu Julienne said: “Rwandans come to the memorials to remember their loved ones, and to learn from their tragic past.  As a Nation we build our strength from our sad history and we can never allow such a tragedy to repeat itself. We will always remember and share the history of the genocide against the Tutsi as we recover and create a spirit of unity as a people, which will serve as the foundation of a better future for all Rwandans.”

Ends

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Ibikorwa byo #Kwibuka23 bizakorwa mu cyumweru cy’icyunamo

Kigali, kuwa 06 Mata 2017

Uyu mwaka u Rwanda ruribuka ku nshuro ya 23 Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi mu 1994. Insanganyamatsiko y’uyu mwaka iragira iti: “Twibuke Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi, turwanya ingengabitekerezo ya Jenoside, dushyigikira ibyiza twagezeho”. Kwibuka kuri iyi nshuro bizaba umwanya ku Banyarwanda b’ingeri zose wo kwibuka no kunamira inzirakarengane zisaga miliyoni imwe zazize Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi banasure inzibutso za Jenoside zishyinguyemo izo nzirakarengane.

Ku itariki ya 7 Mata 2017, umuhango uzabera ku rwego rw’Igihugu ndetse n’urw’Umudugudu hatangizwa icyumweru cy’Icyunamo. Muri icyo cyumweru,Abanyarwanda mu Gihugu hose bazashimangira ubushake bwabo mu kurwanya ingengabitekerezo ya Jenoside ndetse banatekereze ku rugendo rw’ubumwe n’ubwiyunge mu myaka 23 ishize. Icyumweru cy’icyunamo kizasozwa kuwa 13 Werurwe 2017, gisozwe n’umuhango wo Kwibuka abanyapolitiki bishwe bazira kudashyigikira ibikorwa bibi bya guverinoma y’abicanyi.
IBIZAKORWA MU CYUMWERU CY”ICYUNAMO

  • Ku itariki ya 7 Mata 2017: Gucana Urumuri rw’Icyizere, Urugendo rwo Kwibuka n’Ijoro ryo Kwibuka
  • Ku itariki ya 8 Mata 2017: Gusura  no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Nyarubuye
  • Ku itariki ya 9 Mata 2017:-Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Ntarama
                     -Ibiganiro nkarishyabwenge (Café Litérraire) ku kigo cy’Igihugu cy’imisoro n’amahoro (RRA)
  • Ku itariki ya 10 Mata 2017: Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Bisesero
  • Ku itariki ya 11 Mata 2017: Kwibuka I Nyanza –Kicukiro
  • Ku itariki ya 12 Mata 2017: Gusura no Kwibuka ku rwibutso rwa Murambi
  • Ku itariki ya 13 Mata2017: Gusoza ku mugaragaro icyumweru cy’icyunamo ku I Rebero

Minisitiri w’Umuco na Siporo, Uwacu Julienne yagize ati:“ Abanyarwanda baza ku nzibutso Kwibuka ababo bakundaga no kwigira ku mateka mabi banyuzemo.Nk’Igihugu,tuvoma imbaraga mu mateka akomeye ababaje twanyuzemo kandi ntidushobora kwemera ko amahano nk’ariya yongera kubaho.  Tuzahora twibuka tunasangize abandi amateka ya Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi uko tugenda twiyubaka kandi tuzakomeza kubaka no kugarura ubumwe mu Banyarwanda, ibi bikazaba ishingiro ry’ahazaza heza h’Abanyarwanda bose”.

 

Rwanda remembers families completely wiped out in the Genocide

Rubavu, 27 May 2017 – Last night, over 800 genocide survivors from Students and Former Students Genocide Survivors Associations of AERG and GAERG convened at Rubavu Stadium in Rubavu District to commemorate families that were completed wiped out in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Joined by Rubavu district residents, the event kicked off with a Walk to Remember towards Commune Rouge Genocide Memorial where wreaths of remembrance were laid to the burial place of over 4600 Tutsi killed in the Genocide.

A completely wiped out family is a family whose members were entirely killed, with no survivor to continue the family line. To-date, 7,797 completely perished families composed of 34,823 members have been identified in 17 districts. The target is to cover all 30 districts of Rwanda.

“Remembering the families completely wiped out is paying tribute to those killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as none of their relatives survived to remember them. We remember their names, we recall their good deeds, we remember their dreams and aspirations. This serves to call to mind their lives to ensure that their memory never fades away,” GAERG President Olivier Mazimpaka said.

Since 2009, the families completely wiped out are remembered annually under the theme, “You Will Never Be Forgotten While I Am Still Alive.”

Rubavu is part of the former Gisenyi Prefecture and served as place where authorities trialled the genocide. In 1991, 1992 and 1993, the Bagogwe people (a group of Tutsi living in current Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu Districts) were systematically murdered. Men and women were killed at Mukamira and Bigogwe military barracks. Others were thrown into Nyaruhonga caves in Nyabihu District.

The Genocide against the Tutsi began on 7 April 1994. After three days, almost all the Bagogwe people living in the area had been killed. The militia who carried out the murders there were then transported to other parts of the country to reinforce other genocidal forces which were perpetrating the killings.

Rwanda honours politicians who paid the price for defiance

Kigali, 13 April 2017 – The official Kwibuka23 Commemoration Week (7-13 April) was concluded today with an event to honour politicians who opposed the genocidal plan and paid the ultimate price for defiance.

The event took place in Kigali at Rebero Genocide Memorial, which serves as the final resting place for over 14,000 victims of the Genocide against Tutsi and 12 politicians who were killed for standing against the genocidal government in 1994.

The politicians buried at Rebero Genocide Memorial include:

  1. Landouard Ndasingwa (Liberal Party)
  2. Charles Kayiranga (Liberal Party)
  3. Jean de la Croix Rutaremara (Liberal Party)
  4. Augustin Rwayitare (Liberal Party)
  5. Aloys Niyoyita (Liberal Party)
  6. Venantie Kabageni (Liberal Party)
  7. Andre Kameya (Liberal Party)
  8. Frederic Nzamurambaho (PSD President and Agriculture Minister)
  9. Felicien Ngango (PSD)
  10. Jean Pierre Mushimiyimana (PSD)
  11. Faustin Rucogoza (MDR)

The former President of the Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda, is also buried at the memorial. Former Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, is buried at the National Heroes Mausoleum at Remera and was also honoured today.

Special guests included Senate President Bernard Makuza, Sports and Culture Minister Julienne Uwacu, Ibuka President Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, CNLG ES Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Forum of Political Organisations, and the dean of the diplomatic corps.

After laying a wreath on the graves of the victims and observing a moment of silence, Senate President Bernard Makuza said that the 12 politicians were killed for choosing the righteous path.

“The politicians buried here should serve as an example to all of us as politicians. Remembering them reminds us that above anything else, politicians should endeavour to improve citizens’ wellbeing.  Bad leadership generates bad results, whereas good leadership brings people together to achieve positive results,” Senate President Makuza said.

The Senate Speaker reminded politicians and other guests convened at Rebero that the 1994 Genocide was no accident.

“The truth is that the Genocide was no accident. It was not a natural disaster. The history of divisionism goes way back to the colonial era when Rwandans were divided into unfounded ethnic groups,” He said.

He further reiterated that politicians should always bear in mind that it is their responsibility to cement the current constructive politics that the country enjoys.

Families and friends of the politicians killed in the Genocide also laid wreaths on the graves of their loved ones.

Although the national Mourning Week concludes today, Kwibuka23 activities will continue until 4 July 2017 – the date Rwanda was liberated from the genocidal regime by then Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).

In 1994, Rebero served as a refugee for those who had survived the killings at Nyanza-Kicukiro. This was after the RPA troops had captured the strategic hill of Rebero in order to fight genocidal forces. The survivors were relocated after a few days due to intense fighting in the area.

Rwanda remembers thousands abandoned by UN troops to be killed at Nyanza-Kicukiro

Kigali, 11 April 2017 – As events to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi get underway, today, Rwandans from across the City of Kigali gathered at Nyanza Hill in Kicukiro District, to remember over 3,000 Tutsi abandoned by UN Belgian troops to be killed by Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

When the Genocide began on 7 April 1994, thousands of Tutsis from various corners of Kicukiro neighbourhoods sought refuge at former Kicukiro Technical School known as ETO.  The school was a base of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) peacekeeping forces; the refugees thought that the forces would protect them.

In her testimony, Irene Rwizihirangabo, who survived the Nyanza massacre, recounted the ordeal that those who had fled at ETO Kicukiro went through.

Following the killing of 10 Belgian peacekeepers that were part of the UNAMIR, the peacekeeping troops received orders to leave Rwanda. Regardless of the tension that had built up as Interahamwe surrounded ETO Kicukiro, the UN troops there also decided to leave.

A select group amongst the refugees pleaded vainly with the troops commander to stay, to protect them from Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

On 11 April 1994, UNAMIR Belgian troops left ETO Kicukiro.  Their departure was simultaneous with the entry of Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.  The latter took the refugees to Sonatube where then Mayor of Kigali City, Lt Col Tharcisse Renzaho ordered that they instead be taken to Nyanza Hill and killed there because Sonatube was too visible as it is along the road to the airport. Nyanza was a secluded area.

“We were shocked to see UN peacekeeping troops leaving people targeted by killers in danger. They abandoned us in time of need. That was an act of cowardice,” Rwizihirangabo said.

The abandonment of refugees at Kicukiro is a symbol of failure by the United Nations to protect Tutsis during the Genocide.

“Under a heavy downpour, starved Tutsi were forced to march to Nyanza. Those too weak to march were killed on the way. When we arrived at Nyanza, our identification cards were checked before mass killing began. The militia shot and threw grenades in the crowd before using machetes to finish off those of us who were still alive,” recalled Rwizihirangabo.

The next morning, Interahamwe and genocidal government soldiers attempted to finish the slaughter; RPA soldiers stopped them. The latter rescued close to 200 Tutsis who had survived the massacre.

Each year, on 11 April, a memorial ceremony takes place at Nyanza, in memory of the Genocide victims murdered in cold blood after UN troops abandoned them. A march is held from former ETO Kicukiro to Nyanza Memorial site, followed by a night vigil to remember the victims.

Speaking at the event, the Speaker of the lower chamber of parliament Donatille Mukabalisa called on Rwandans to come together to support Genocide survivors and ensure that they are not alone.

“Those who left us to die taught us to value ourselves and depend primarily on our own means for solutions,” Speaker Mukabalisa said.

Nyanza Hill in Kicukiro District is known as one of the places where mass killings took place during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nyanza-Kicukiro Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 11,000 victims of the Genocide. About 3,000 of them were killed on site while 8,000 were murdered in other parts of Kicukiro.

Click here for more photos

Minister Kabarebe hails Bisesero Genocide resistance

Karongi, 10 April 2017 – Defence Minister James Kabarebe has hailed the courage, bravery and heroism of the people of Bisesero who put up one of the toughest resistance against Interahamwe during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Minister Kabarebe was speaking today in Karongi District as genocide survivors, residents and Rwandans from across the country came together to honour the memories of over 50,000 Tutsi killed in Bisesero.

During the Genocide, Bisesero literary became a battlefield as Tutsis tried to defend themselves against the Interahamwe militia. Armed with mainly stones, spears and other traditional weapons, Tutsis managed to hold back the killers for several months until the militia received reinforcement.

Reinforcement by soldiers, gendarmes, policemen and more militias from other parts of the country such former prefectures Cyangugu, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi finally quelled their fighting spirit, Eric Nzabihimana, a survivor testified.

On 13 and 14 May a mega-attack was launched that left thousands dead, but survivors kept fighting for their lives. Between 27 and 30 May, more attacks were carried out claiming thousands more.

Minister Kabarebe pointed out that the tale of the Bisesero resistance has become a symbol of fearlessness, determination and heroism of the people who used stones and sticks against guns and machetes.

A memorial that stands at the hill depicts the perilous walk that Tutsi underwent in their battle for survival.

“Bisesero memorial site is an indelible symbol of the massacres of Tutsi here and will remain as an everlasting reminder of the heroism and resistance of the people who had fled on these hills,” Minister Kabarebe said.

He said that commemorating the Genocide is an occasion to pay respect to its victims and an opportunity to look back at where Rwanda came from, where it stands today, where it is heading.

“The Bisesero resistance reminds us that those who planned and executed the Genocide were defeated by courageous Rwandans who fearlessly stood to build a new Rwanda,” Minister Kabarebe said.

The Defence Minister further pledged his support to survivors in order to help them improve their wellbeing and called for concerted efforts in fighting Genocide denial.

Brief History

Also known as the Memorial of Resistance, Bisesero Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 60,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

In May 1994, residents from neighbouring areas took refuge at Bisesero. As Interahamwe kept on hunting down and killing Tutsis, thousands trekked from miles away to take refuge at Bisesero.

As the killings drew by, Bisesero residents had organised a resistance to fight back. They had refused to succumb to Interahamwe militia. Bisesero residents were put to a tactical preparation to fight back anyone who had come to attack the village.  They took strategic cover on top of a hill called Muyira where they could spot the militia.

On 13 May, upon knowledge that Bisesero residents had organised a resistance, Interahamwe mobilised Heavy Artillery.  Many survived the first attack. They stayed in hiding until 13 June when French soldiers came to Bisesero, claiming that their intention was keeping people safe and stopping the Genocide.

After the French arrival, hundreds of residents came out of hiding seeking help from them. Not long after the French had left the area, Interahamwe came back to finish what they had started. On 30 June, the French came back only to find almost everyone slaughtered.

We owe it to ourselves to always strive for the better – Minister Kaboneka comforts Ntarama survivors

Bugesera, 9 April 2017 – Today, thousands joined Bugesera residents to pay respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The commemoration event took place at Ntarama Genocide Memorial where over 5,000 Tutsis were brutally killed by Interahamwe militia and genocidal government soldiers.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka recounted the history of the Bugesera region. Bugesera’s history is one of longtime persecution of the Tutsi that started long before 1994. The district was exposed to mass killings of Tutsis in 1959, 1963, 1972 and 1992.

Before 1960, most of Bugesera was arid, inhabited and Tsetse infested. At that time however, Tutsis from the northern part of the country were massively deported to the region. A second group from former Gikongoro followed in 1963. They were not expected to survive.

Between 1960 and 1969, Tutsi who had fled Rwanda attempted to attack the country from Burundi. This resulted in massacres of Tutsis in Bugesera.

“Those who say that genocide happened in 1994 are doing nothing but a disdain. What took place here in 1994 was just a wind-up of what had long been taking place. Churches where people would go for purification, blessings, prayers and holly communion turned into slaughterhouses in 1994,” Minister Kaboneka said.

Minister Kaboneka further urged Bugesera residents, especially Genocide survivors, to draw strength and courage from the country’s tragic history towards rebuilding their lives. He called on all those who are yet to pay reparations to survivors to do so in the nearest future and challenged the communities to follow up on such cases.

“From our history, we drew strength and courage to carry on, fight for our dignity. Let us remember with hope. We have a brighter future before us. We deserve to live better and descent lives. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones who were killed to always strive for the better,” he said.

Chantal Niwemugeni, a survivor who had fled at Ntarama Church during the Genocide, recalled the gruesome killings that took place the church. Narrating the ordeal that her and other Tutsis who had sought refuge at the church went through, Niwemugeni recollected that when Interahamwe militia and former government soldiers attacked the church, old people tried vainly to put up a resistance.

“We were suffocated with a pepper-like gas, before the militia threw grenades inside the church. Thereafter, throngs of Interahamwe mixed with soldiers flocked in with machetes, clubs, spears and other crude weapons to finish off those who were still breathing,” she recalled.

Those who survived the killings at Ntarama fled to Kimpima hill, to former Nyamata Parish, to wetlands along River Akagera and to many other places.

“In wetlands along the river, most of us preferred to drown ourselves and commit suicide than being hacked to death by the militia. Eventually, RPA soldiers came to our rescuers. Today, we have soldiered on with hope,” recounted Niwemugeni who caught up with her studies after the Genocide and now has a Master’s Degree in Finance.

Located in Bugesera District, Ntarama Church became a Genocide Memorial in 1995. Over 5,000 people were slaughtered in the church and its compound.

On 7 April 1994, a day after President Habyarimana’s plane had been downed, Tutsi homes were set ablaze in Ntarama, with some resistance from local farmers. Tutsi families in Bugesera had fled to Ntarama Church because in previous massacres, attackers had respected religious sites.

On 13 April 1994, Interahamwe militia conducted a census of Tutsis who had fled to Ntarama Church. After the census, they were told to stay together so that the government could guarantee their security. This was a strategy to draw out even those who were still in hiding. On 15 April 1994, Interahamwe militia and government soldiers from Gako military barracks began coordinated, systematic killings of Tutsis.

Commemoration event takes place at Nyarubuye

Nyarubuye, 8 April 2017

Today, hundreds of Nyarubuye residents joined by the youths from Kigali organised a commemoration at Nyarubuye Parish, in Kirehe District where the Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege was the guest of honour.

The event started by a tour of a Nyarubuye Memorial where 35,000 hacked to death with extreme cruelty.

During the commemoration, genocide a survivor Theopista Mukanoheli who sought refuge at Nyarubuye Parish but later left because she saw that the place wasn’t safe, said that Nyarubuye many Tutsi gathered there before they were killed.
Mathieu Fashingabo who was deputy to Mayor Sylvestre Gacumbitsi but opposed the genocidal politics and saved hundreds of Tutsi by helping them cross Akagera river to Tanzania, explained in details the background of the genocide ideology before 1994 in former Rusumo commune current Kirehe District. He said that Tutsi were not allowed free movements and were monitored in their daily life.

The guest of honour Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege invited the Nyarubuye residents to fight genocide ideology and build on the progress we have achieved

“Today, due to the good leadership, all Rwandans are equal before the law, we should take opportunity of this good leadership to build a better Rwanda we want where our grandchildren will live in dignity” he added.

Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial serves as the final resting place for over 35,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi who were killed there and other 13, 000 from surrounding areas. . By 12 April 1994, the number of Tutsis who had fled to Nyarubuye Church from surrounding areas had grown considerably and on 13 April 1994, a census was undertaken to count Tutsis who had fled at Nyarubuye Church.

They were estimated to be 35,000. As the census was underway, Tutsis believed that the aim was to determine how much support they needed. The census was actually meant to quantify the number of killers needed to perpetrate the killings. After the census, gendarmes & militia armed with guns, grenades, machetes and spears attacked Nyarubuye Church from various points. Led by gendarmes & Interahamwe militia, the killers cruelly exterminated all the Tutsis who had fled to Nyarubuye Church.

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