17 May 2018

Rwanda: Genocide - More Mass Graves Discovered

Photo: Nadege Imbabazi/New Times
One of the graves where 123 bodies were found last week in Ndera.

Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors' associations, has called for stringent measures against people who refuse to provide information on the locations where Genocide victims were dumped, saying it was part of genocide ideology.

The call was made by the Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Naphtal Ahishakiye, following the discovery of new mass graves in the country, 24 years after the Genocide.

Last week, six new graves were found in Ndera Sector, Gasabo District. They were found in the compound of the neuro-psychiatric hospital where about 80,000 Tutsi had fled expecting to get refuge.

The graves were dug by the hospital authorities before the Genocide against the Tutsi but, until April 1994, had not been used.

By press time, Wednesday, 336 remains had been exhumed and relocated to the Genocide memorial site in Ndera Sector.

According to Ahishakiye, the information about the graves was provided by a survivor who currently lives in Canada.

During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Ndera was sheltering top government officials and priests, but the killings became intense with only about 300 surviving because soldiers were deployed to support Interahamwe militia to butcher a large number of Tutsi with conventional weapons.

According to the officials, it is difficult to estimate the expected number of bodies to be exhumed from the graves. So far, one grave has been covered, with five more to go.

Ahishakiye said that it was everyone's responsibility to provide information about places where Genocide victims were dumped, adding that it was a shame to build a house over the graves and keep quiet for 24 years.

"Revealing the information not only helps Genocide survivors, but it helps everyone to live with no guilt in their hearts. It could be worse for children to see their homes being demolished to exhume bodies," he said.

"After 24 years, we are still unearthing the bodies of Genocide victims in different parts of the country. This is very unfortunate because people knew about it but were not willing to come forward," he added.

According to Ahishakiye, the discovery of the new graves and the Genocide ideology, which still exists in the minds of some people, shows how the Genocide was so cruel and meticulously prepared.

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