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09.04.2017 20:00 Category: MINALOC News

From our history, we drew strength and courage to carry on – Min. Kaboneka

Officials visiting Ntarama Genocide Memorial

The remark was made today by the Minister of Local Government, Hon. KABONEKA Francis during the 23rd commemoration of genocide against Tutsi that was held today at Ntarama Memorial where more than 5000 Tutsis were massacred in 1994.

Niyomugeni Chantal, who survived the Genocide at Ntarama Church, testified the horrific situation they endured during which many Tutsi were killed others hardly survived after being saved Rwandese Patriotic Army forces.

She said: “Our parents were forcibly brought to the Bugesera region in 1959 to be killed by tsetse flies. During 1994 genocide against Tutsi, Interahamwe militia's cruelty in this region was unprecedented; when they attacked this Church, elders amongst us tried to resist them but they were outnumbered by the killers supported by the Government forces. The killers threw grenades and sprayed spicy substances inside the Church to dispatch those that had sought refuge. Thereafter they entered with machetes, spears…”

Ntamfurayishyari Silas who was a soldier in the Army of Habyarimana regime, is now recognized by the country for his extraordinary bravery and sacrifice he showed during the Genocide. He risked his life by trying to rescue the Tutsis. He hid them in the bushes and took them to Burundi during the night.

He also testified how the army was as well corrupt with divisionism and hatred for Tutsi Rwandans. After the Genocide, Ntamfurayishyari joined the RPA in the struggle to fight insurgencies and protect the country's sovereignty.

In his remarks, the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Kaboneka Francis expressed his gratitude to survivor Niyomugeni Chantal and Ntamfurayishyari who rescued 18 Tutsi during the Genocide. He consoled genocide survivors but encouraged them to commemorate by revitalizing and rebuilding their lives.

He said: “Many of us would have wished to have had many who followed Ntamfurayishyari's example. They'd have rescued even more people. Bugesera is the only district with two Genocide Memorials at national level and several others. Most Memorials in this region were churches which were transformed into slaughterhouses during the Genocide.”

“Today, we are proud of who those survivors are, step by step, rebuilding their lives. We are grateful to RPA soldiers who fought to stop the Genocide and liberate the country from bad leadership. We deserve to live better lives, we owe it to ourselves to strive for the better. Our message is a message of hope. We are not hostages of history. We have a bright future before us. From our history, we drew strength & courage to carry on, fight for our dignity.” He added.

Minister Kaboneka reminded the perpetrators to reveal the bodies of killed Tutsis and peacefully compensate the properties that they damaged during the genocide otherwise the laws will be applied to defiants.

Ntarama Genocide Memorial was a catholic church and contains more than 5000 bodies of Tutsis who were killed while trying to seek refuge in it believing that no one can enter the church to kill human beings.