Rwanda Genocide: 4 Mass Graves Discovered After 24 Years

On 7th April 1994, Rwanda witnessed the most terrific event of a kind ‘the Rwandan genocide’, between the ethnic Tutsis and the Hutus an occurrence which claimed nearly a million innocent lives and thousands forcefully became refugees in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Burundi. This brutal killing lasted for about 100 days! Despite all efforts to bring unity, reconciliation among people, it is sad note that 4 (four) more mass graves have been discovered in Kabuga cell, Kabezi village in Rusororo area, Gasabo district in the Rwanda Province; a new discovery which leaves many still shocked a fact that this significant information was for long being investigated but in vain. The first set of bodies was discovered at a depth of 80 feet and approximately 2000 to 3000 victims are believed to have been buried in the mass graves. However, about 207 bodies have been excavated from one of the newly discovered graves and 156 in another grave. These mass graves were discovered within Kigali capital, just near the famous Kigali Genocide memorial site where more than 250000 victims were also buried. The mass graves were discovered by the Rwanda government officials after long time investigation. Although some people could have had prior knowledge about the graves, majority who also stayed in the area lived with no knowledge on what occurred. But later, it was realized that during this tragedy, victims were murdered and the deep holes became a dumping ground and after sometime they were covered. Several people then occupied the area and others relocated to new places but due to efforts to find those who were still missing, various families came up at the site to cross check the found bodies and see if they were able to recognize their people who disappeared for about 24 years.

This seemed unbelievable till when a local woman reported the matter to government officials. However, the issue to long to be discovered due to her fear to loose all that she had in this area; something that forced her to conceal the information till recently when it was discovered. And as she had predicated, in deed many houses were destroyed during the excavation exercise. It is asserted that several local residents who stayed within these communities were murdered and dumped in these graves while others went to various areas leaving the area isolated. Over 3000 victims who traveled from various communities were dumped in the 5 (five) mass graves, 4 of which have been discovered and one is yet to be found.

On discovering about the mass graves, majority of people mostly the genocide survivors and those who lost their dear ones converged in the area to recognize their people, especially their torn clothes that they wore prior their killing and old albums they found in the graves. The survivors asserted that the convicts intended to withhold the information despite efforts put to make them reveal the fact but nothing fruitful was discovered. From 1994, government officials and many other responsible organizations never had accurate information as various people provided differing and misleading information. However, the excavation exercise for more bodies is still on going and there are plans to offer them a descent burial just like the previous ones.

Lastly, despite efforts to reconcile people, the newly discovered mass graves still pose great shock a matter that leaves most people wondering how it will be possible for reconciliation to be reached in Rwanda. If you are planning to spend your next vacation in Rwanda don’t miss to pay a visit in one of the Rwandan genocide memorial sites for you to explore more on what took place in 1994.