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Survivors ask UN to hunt down and punish Burundian Hutus who committed genocide in Rwanda

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Rwandans accord the remains of members of their families who were murdered during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi a decent burial. Survivors want Burundians who allegedly took part in the killings to be pursued. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

Rwandans accord the remains of members of their families who were murdered during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi a decent burial. Survivors want Burundians who allegedly took part in the killings to be pursued. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya 

By Daniel Sabiiti Special Correspondent

Posted  Saturday, May 10   2014 at  12:54

In Summary

  • The killers are alleged to have fuelled the Genocide against the Tutsi and carried out several attacks on Congolese of Rwandan descent, commonly known as Banyamulenge.
  • Survivors are now demanding that the United Nations and other international actors address the issue by bringing to book the culprits, some of whom they say are known.
  • Many of the genocide survivors believe that the suspects are living in Burundi and DRC, although some of them, especially the rich ones, have managed to flee to Western countries.

Among the wounds of genocide that Rwanda has borne for the past 20 years is the untried cases of Burundian Hutu militia who were involved in killing Rwandan Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.

The killers are alleged to have fuelled the Genocide against the Tutsi and carried out several attacks on Congolese of Rwandan descent, commonly known as Banyamulenge.

Survivors are now demanding that the United Nations and other international actors address the issue by bringing to book the culprits, some of whom they say are known.

Even though it is clear that Rwandans started killing each other after the plane carrying then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart were shot down at Kigali airport, what could have been the reason for Burundians to get involved in the Genocide against the Tutsi is a mystery.

The role of Burundians and some of their officials getting involved in the killings is one of the issues that has not been addressed, even amidst testimonies of some survivors carrying the painful memories of the genocide.

Cases of places where Burundians were involved in the genocide in the Mayaga area, which includes parts of current Bugesera District, and Ntongwe and Kinazi in Ruhango, Mugina in Kamonyi and all over Southern Province, especially in districts near the Burundi border.

During the 20th commemoration of genocide in Kinazi Sector, Southern Province, touching testimonies of survivors moved the mourners as they recounted most shocking tales of how the Burundian Hutu militias crossed the border to aid the Rwandan Hutu extremists in the killings.

A survivor said when the genocide started it was massacres like anywhere else but when the Burundians joined in, they did not only fuel the killings but also taught Rwandan militias to kill and eat the hearts of their victims.

“The worst thing that happened was that the Rwandan officials who planned the genocide brought in the Burundian refugees to Nyagahamba, which is nearby, and what they did was horrible – not only teaching Rwandans how to kill but even worse,” said Sam Dusabiyumva at the Kwibuka Flame Tour in Kinazi.

Pursue the suspects

The survivors have over the past 20 years demanded that the government pursues the suspects, who are now in Burundi and around the region.

The Speaker of the Rwanda Senate, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, says that the pleas of survivors have, indeed, been presented many times and the government will look into the possibilities of seeking justice.

According to Mr Dusabiyumva, the killings started from places near the border – such as Gitovu, Rutabo and Nyarurama – and that there were deadly attacks on Tutsis as early as 1992 in Bugesera.

‘Kill and teach others to do it’

“The Burundians had everything they needed to do the killing in Rwanda,” Mr Dusabiyumva said. “They had done it in their country and they were free to live here without question and do it again. They were equipped with weapons and were idle, so all they did was to kill and teach others to do it.”

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