Rwanda: Rubavu – Genocide Victims Thrown in Sebeya River Remembered
Victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who were killed or thrown alive into the Sebeya River were remembered on Saturday, May 20, in Rubavu District.
The event is part of the ongoing commemoration for the 29th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which was organized by the ‘Dukundane Family’, an association of former student survivors from College Saint Andre.
The association was also joined by Rubavu officials and local residents to commemorate the victims who had been dumped in various water bodies earlier or during the massacre.
For Sebeya, the victims who were killed or thrown in alive came from areas such as Kanama, Nyabirasi, Nyundo, and other parts of the region surrounding the river.
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Marie Aimble Umuhoza, 62, is one of the Genocide survivors in Nyundo Sector whose relatives, including her mother, were dumped there.
“Laying a wreath here makes me feel calm in my heart, I feel happy that I am with them today,” she said.
Need for a monument
According to many Genocide survivors in Rubavu District, including Umuhoza, there is a need for a monument at Sebeya River to help families better commemorate their beloved relatives who were killed there.
“The monument will help us remember that tragic history so that when we pass by and look at their names, we will see that our parents are honoured,” she added.
According to Dukundane Family’s Coordinator, Sixbert Habimana, commemorating the victims of the Genocide who were thrown into various water bodies is “a part of preserving the country’s history” and also a part of “remembering and fighting against genocide ideology.”
Speaking at the event, Hon Jean Pierre Hindura, who was the guest of honour, called upon parents to tell their children the history as it is.
“There are some parents who still do not tell the truth about the Genocide against the Tutsi and what happened. It is beneficial to learn from past history so that it can help young people to govern this country,” he said.
In his address, Hon Hindura urged Genocide survivors to forgive the perpetrators who had the mission of eliminating all Tutsi within the country and outside, including the communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.
“It is painful, but you should forgive them in order to become relieved in your hearts. It is true that they killed your relatives, but we have to remember and move on,” he added.
He promised to do more advocacy for a monument at Sebeya to be put in place for generations to come and for the next commemoration events.