Hundreds of people flocked to Nyange Secondary School in Ngororero District, Western Province on Friday to welcome the Kwibuka Flame, on its first leg of a three-month national tour ahead of the April 7 twentieth anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Nyange School is the scene of some of the worst massacres during the Genocide and later, on March 18, 1997, when a group of insurgents linked to the Genocide militants attacked the school and hurled grenades at helpless students indiscriminately.
Speaking during a memorial event at the school today, Fanuel Sindayiheba, a survivor of the attack, recounted the ordeal during that fateful night. "The killers ordered us to separate ourselves along ethnic lines (Hutus and Tutsis), and when we refused they started shooting at us," he said.
Six students and a guard died in the attack.
Ngororero District mayor Gédéon Ruboneza hailed the bravery of the students, urging the young people to learn from the Nyange heroes.
The mayor also paid tribute to those who saved lives during the Genocide.
Also in Nyange area, Interahamwe militia and local authorities used a bulldozer to raze a church which was sheltering Tutsis, killing many in the process.
A prominent catholic priest in the area was later found guilty of masterminding the fatal attack on the church.
Survivors in the area say they are open to forgiveness and live in harmony with their former tormentors.
"Despite all that happened to our loved ones, we are ready to forgive the perpetrators if they are willing to repent and, together, we rebuild our lives and nation," Aloys Rwamasirabo, a Genocide survivor whose all nine children died in the church attack, said at the memorial event today.