Thursday, 12 February 2009

Genocide at Kabgayi

Here is another nuggett from today's "New Times". Kabgayi is only about a mile and a half from my flat. The mass grave is on the edge of the main road at the crossroads where I turn off to go to Shyogwe and Mbare schools. There are already two huge concrete lined burial pits; last year they had to create a third because so many bodies are still being discovered in this area - fourteen years after the genocide. Skeletons are found when pit latrines are dug out, when field ditches are re-dug and deepened, when old houses are demolished and their foundations excavated for rebuilding.

What's so horrifying in this case is the implied complicity of the Catholic Church - Kabgayi is its headquarters for the entire country - and the reluctance of most of the Catholic administration to confront the issue. It makes you wonder how much more is being hidden....

Over 60,000 people were killed at Kabgayi - Report


Red Cross volunteers buried victims alive


MUHANGA — Details about the 1994 killings at the Kabgayi Catholic Diocese in Muhanga district have finally been officially released. The report was officially presented to Domitillle Mukantaganzwa, the Executive Secretary of the National Gacaca jurisdiction on Tuesday February 10, at the Muhanga cultural centre.

This development comes years after outcry from Kabgayi genocide survivors who were asking the Gacaca courts to investigate the killings and bring to book people responsible.

The report was compiled by a team of 18 Gacaca judges from former Gitarama Province - who since October 2008 collected various testimonies from Kabgayi survivors countrywide.

According to the report, more than 64,000 Rwandans, seeking refuge fell at Kabgayi Diocese grounds, during the Genocide.

A total of 458 cases (in category 1 and 2) (the categories for the most horrendous crimes) are set for trial, and at least 328 judges have been lined up to commence the trials this month.

The judges, who were present during the release of the report, said that this information is an answer to survivor’s persistent quest for justice to be done.
Ildésbald Ruzigana, who led the Judges, said that the testimonies indicate that most of the killings were planned by government officials, some religious leaders and residents of Ngororero and Kibuye.

Some of the officials cited in the report, according to Ruzigana, include Jean Kambanda, Bishop Thaddeus Nsenginyumva and Fr. Rukundo. Others cited in the report were working as Red Cross volunteers who allegedly buried victims alive.
Ruzigana, noted that some areas in the districts of Ruhango, Kamonyi and Nyanza didn’t provide sufficient information on the killings and residents there were reluctant to volunteer information despite briefing them earlier.

Details of the killings in the Catholic stronghold have been mysterious for the past 14 years and nobody including the Catholic Church had claimed responsibility.
Only the Bishop Smaragade Mbonyintege of Kabgayi, had previously promised cooperation in the process of collecting information.

Last year, Dr. Théoneste Niyitegeka, a former presidential aspirant in 2003, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment by the Gacaca Appeal Court of Gihuma, for discharging patients before they fully recovered who were later killed by Interahamwe militia-who had camped at Kabgayi.


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