Survivors want decent burial for 17,000 Ndera Genocide victims

CARAES Ndera Memorial
CARAES Ndera Memorial

By Michel Nkurunziza, The New Times

Genocide survivors in Ndera sector of Gasabo district have requested government to fast-track the process to accord decent burial to an estimated 17,000 genocide victims who were killed in the surroundings of Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital (CARAES).

The facility is a referral hospital for neuropsychiatric disorders, or mental disorders which was established in 1968 by the Brothers of Charity, an international religious congregation, in partnership with the Catholic Church.

During 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, thousands of patients and workers at the hospital as well as other Tutsi who had sought refuge in hospital were killed.

Felix Ingenzi, the representative of families whose loved ones were killed in Ndera said that victims were dumped in a 30-metre hole that had been dug near the facility.

Although there is a memorial site, he said, the remains have never been given a decent burial.

“We have secured land from the hospital to expand the memorial and we call upon concerned institutions to help fast-track the process. We have already engaged the district,” he said.

Ingenzi who survived genocide from the hospital aged 6 at the time, recounted the atrocities on April 17 during the 28thcommemoration of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and requested that their loved ones get a decent burial.

“Many Interahamwe attacks would be launched every day. When they realised that Tutsi were resisting, the military intervened to use guns and grenades. The major attack happened on April 17,” he said.

He said that foreigners rescued their relatives and left Tutsi in the arms of killers.

Antoinette Wibabara, a Genocide survivor who was an employee at the hospital testified how genocide had been planned.

“I started work at Ndera hospital in 1987. I worked for a short-while before I started to experience systematic harassment targeting the Tutsi. Our leaders used to accuse us of working with Inkotanyi. One day they brought a grenade to the hospital and arrested me and my workmate saying we are the ones who brought it with the aim to kill them,” she said.

She said that they were detained for a week where they were beaten every day.

“I finally left the job. During 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, I survived from another area in Kigali city,” she said.

Merard Mpabwanamaguru, the Kigali City Vice-Mayor in charge of urbanization and infrastructure pledged that the city will continue to ensure welfare of genocide survivors improves as the battle to fight genocide ideology continues.

“The government planned and executed 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Therefore the leadership is key in fighting genocide ideology and those who are trivialising the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi,” he said.

He said there is need for more efforts to bring to book some top leaders who planned and executed 1994 genocide against the Tutsi who are still roaming abroad.

Senator Emmanuel Havugimana urged Rwandans and youth in particular to intensify fight against genocide ideology.

“We laud young Rwandans in abroad who are playing a big role in fighting genocide deniers by organising commemoration events,” he said.

He reiterated that preparing youth to build a peaceful country should be the way forward.

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