4 October 2008

Rwanda: Report Claims 2 Million Killed in 1994 Genocide

Kigali — A new report has put the figure of people massacred in the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis to 1,952,078 people. The report was compiled by student members of the Student Genocide Survivors organization (Association des Etudiants Réscapes du Génocide - AERG) from a research done in 390 genocide memorial sites and other cemeteries across the country.

It, however, does not include people who were thrown in rivers and lakes and those who were burnt to ashes during the Genocide.

According to the report, 390 Genocide Memorial Sites have been set up across the country since 1994. Those sites accommodate remains of 1,002,755 victims of the mayhem while 851,756 others were buried in different cemeteries across the country.

The report also says that the remains of 97,567 people have been identified but have not yet been given decent burial.

The National Coordinator of AERG, Claude Zimurinda, told The New Times that remains of some victims of the Genocide have not yet been located and that he was very sure that the figures in the report are correct.

In a separate interview on the report with the Director of Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Straton Nsanzabaganwa, he said that the figures should be crosschecked because there are some categories of victims of the Genocide that were not identified.

"There are people who were thrown in rivers and lakes and their bodies have not been found yet, and there is a category of those people who were burnt to ashes in houses which were not theirs, all of those were not considered in the report; these figures are close to the truth but there should be an exact number that involves all categories of the victims of the Genocide."

He explained further that the figures are close to the reality since other researches conducted in the country did not penetrate as deep as this one.

However, the President of the National Commission against Genocide, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, said that the figures in the report are not yet official and that his commission will have to verify the figures before regarding them as real.

The National Commission against Genocide was established by parliamentary decree and is charged with dealing with all issues related to the Tutsi Genocide.

Meanwhile in a separate development, renown researcher on Rwandan Genocide, Tom Ndahiro, said that the figure of victims of the Genocide is uncountable.

"There are people who were thrown in deep ditches in Nyungwe forest that can't be reached easily, some who were thrown in another ditch in Bugesera District called Urwobo rwabayanga; there also those who were carried away by lakes and rivers. Practically, it is impossible to know the exact number of the Genocide victims since 1990," said Ndahiro.

The AERG data collection sponsored by the Government through the Ministry of Sports and Culture, was carried out by 60 people in all the 30 districts across the country since December last year.

The AERG report is expected to be reviewed by several analysts and government organs including the Cabinet before it is considered as official reference.

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