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Rwanda

1994: When Belgium Peacekeepers Abandoned Tutsi For Slaughter

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page http://cmlsociety.org/wp-includes/class-wp-admin-bar.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The event brought together survivors, site families of the victims as well as special guests.

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The area is well known because of the UN withdrawal there in April 1994, a symbol of Rwanda’s abandonment by the international community.

The event featured a Walk to Remember from ETO-Kicukiro (the site of abandonment) to Nyanza-Kicukiro (the site of the massacre).

Thousands of residents and friends took part.

It was followed by a commemoration ceremony including the laying of wreaths on the mass graves, testimonies from survivors and songs by local artists.

The President of IBUKA, Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, and the Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa, gave remarks at the event, urging reconciliation and resilience.


Massacres


During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, mass killings in Kicukiro took place in Nyanza ya Kicukiro, Gikondo, Gahanga, Gatenga and Kanombe.

Those who were killed at Nyanza ya Kicukiro were brought from ETO Kicukiro, a UN military camp.

Between 3,500 and 5,000 Tutsi took refuge there when the genocide started and were inside with UN peacekeepers from Belgium. Outside, the militia attempted to attack the camp.

On 11 April 1994, the Belgian troops left ETO Kicukiro. Young Tutsi kneeled in front of the vehicles, pleading with them to stay.

But the troops shot in the air and drove away. The departure of the UNAMIR troops was done simultaneously with the entry of soldiers of the genocidal government and Interahamwe militia.

The government soldiers and militia took the Tutsi to Sonatube where the Mayor of the city, Lt Col Tharcisse Renzaho, ordered that they instead be taken to Nyanza and killed from there because Sonatube was too visible as it was along the road to the airport.

In a heavy rain, the starved Tutsi were forced to march to Nyanza. Those too weak to march were killed on the way.

When they arrived at Nyanza, the militia ensured that no Hutu were among the group, asking for them to identify themselves with their ID cards.

Then the mass killing began.


The militia and soldiers shot and threw grenades at the Tutsi. Afterwards, they used machetes to kill the survivors.

The next morning they attempted to finish the slaughter but were stopped by the Rwandan Patriotic Army who rescued the few who had survived the massacre.

Kicukiro District has six genocide memorials, among them Nyanza ya Kicukiro where the Tutsi who were abandoned by UN troops are buried.

There are a total of approximately 11,000 victims who have been laid to rest there. At the Rebero Genocide Memorial 14,000 victims are buried with the politicians who were killed during the genocide.

The closing of the week of mourning will take place at Rebero on April 13.

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