Rwanda: Death of 15-Year-Old Rwandan in London Ignites Campaign Against Knife Violence

A 15-year-old Rwandan teen who was recently stabbed to death in London was mourned on Saturday, July 24 in an event that was characterized by calls on UK authorities to find ways of stopping knife violence, which has become rampant among teenagers in the country.

The young man, Thamim Ian Hakizimana was stabbed to death on July 7 on his way from school after he got into an altercation with a group of youths he met.

The incident occurred in an area called Woolwich in South East London, according to members of the Rwandan community in the United Kingdom. He was buried on Thursday, July 22.

On Saturday, April 24, dozens of members of the Rwandan community in London met at the place where the stabbing took place and laid wreaths of flowers and made speeches condoning violence among teens, mainly of black race.

Addressing mourners, Hawa Haragakiza, the mother of the deceased said that it was absurd that even when their children try to stay out of trouble, somehow trouble will find them, saying that her son just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She condemned the fact the lack of humanity in communities.

"When my son was on the ground crying as he battled for his life, people were there, just looking on like they were watching a movie, taking videos... the videos were trending but this is not how my son wanted to be celebrated; it is ridiculous and disrespectful," Haragakiza said.

She added: "I am his mother and every time, parents want to say beautiful things about their children but for those who know me, they know me as a straight-forward person... my son wasn't part of any of these (gangs) he was just in a wrong place at the wrong time."

Musa called upon members of the community to look out for one another.

Speaking to The New Times Gisele Pelosi, a member of the National Association of Rwandans living in the UK said that this is not the first case of black boys murdered in knife crime but it is the first Rwandan to be killed in this way this year.

Pelosi added that London has the highest knife crime in the UK as well as the city with more youths that are in gangs or groups establishing territories. She added that other cities like Manchester and Birmingham also have cases of knife crime and gang culture.

According to Pelosi, five teenagers, a 19-year-old boy, three 15-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy have been arrested and charged in Bromley Magistrates Court in connection with Hakizimana's death.

Speaking about the reason that triggered this campaign, Pelosi said that there is another Rwandan boy who died two years ago, so as the community they feel like one or two are too many and they have to stand against this crime and try to protect the youth as well as educate them to stay out of trouble.

She added workshops and other activities have been organised to engage the youth and identify ways knife crimes can be stopped.

Meanwhile, Pelosi said that Hakizimana's father, Blaise Habimana announced plans to start a foundation under his son's name where he will engage with the youth so that they can leave these gangs and focus on meaningful activities.

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