April 1, 2014

Rwanda: Kwibuka Flame Back To Capital After National Tour

As part of this year’s observance of the anniversary, the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance has been on a nationwide tour since 7 January.
As part of this year’s observance of the anniversary, the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance has been on a nationwide tour since 7 January.

Rwanda’s Kwibuka (Remembrance) Flame has returned to Kigali City after spending about two and half months touring districts across the country.

The Flame was lit on January 7 at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, and embarked on a nationwide tour as part of activities in the build up to the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It arrived in Nyarugenge from the south-eastern district of Kirehe where it had been since Thursday.

Since its departure from Kigali, the torch has visited 27 districts in the four upcountry provinces.

In February, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon honoured the launch of “Kwibuka 20,” a series of events commemorating the tragedy, and urged the international community to do more to fully internalize and implement the lessons learned from the killings of 800,000 people in 1994.

As it completed its 28th leg, the torch was welcomed at Camp Kigali, in the city’s Nyarugenge District, by dozens of residents and school children.

At the time of the Genocide, Camp Kigali housed an elite military barracks, a military school (Ecole Superieure Militaire), and served as the headquarters of the Forces Armees Rwandaises and as home to military school of infantry.

Testimonies indicate that several meetings to hatch the Genocide plan were held inside the camp and attracted several high ranking civil and military officials.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) speaks at the launch of “Kwibuka20,” a series of observances marking 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda. At his side is Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana of Rwanda. UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) speaks at the launch of “Kwibuka20,” a series of observances marking 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda. At his side is Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana of Rwanda. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The barracks was also said to have been a place for torture, persecution and murder of a number of Tutsi who were mainly arrested from across Kigali on accusations that they were rather sympathisers or collaborators of the Rwanda Patriotic Army.

However, the place remains one of the most notorious for the murder of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was strongly opposed to the Genocide, and 10 Belgian peacekeepers that had been deployed to protect her.

They were brutally executed on April 7, 1994, a few hours after the Genocide machinery was put into motion.

Paulin Rugero, a survivor, spoke of how the camp became a place of murder and torture of Tutsis in the build up to and during the Genocide.

He said information he gathered indicate that scores of Tutsis might have been killed and dumped inside the former military premises.

Last May, UNSG Ban Ki-moon visited the Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Kigali, where he said the UN had played a key role in helping Rwanda recover by establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) set up to bring justice to perpetrators of the massacres.

From Agencies

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