The Rwandan community in the United Kingdom, friends of Rwanda and the diplomatic community have come together to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
The event that helped people gathered to remember who are not familiar with Rwanda to understand the context of the tragedy brought together 300 people in London.
They came from several parts of the country, all with same spirit to commemorate over 1 million Tutsi that lost their lives just because they were Tutsi between April-July 1994.
In a moving testimony, Sophie Masereka, a genocide survivor narrated her ordeal after her home was attacked by Hutu militias as the Genocide started.
She said that her relatives were rounded to be killed in Nyakabanda near a football pitch and some of the victims included her father who was Seventh Day Adventist Pastor in Nyakabanda suburb – Kigali city.
Masereke managed to walk through several roadblocks and reached St Paul Parish Centre – Nyarugenge district.
From this centre which was targeted by Interahamwe militia, Masereke and hundreds of other Tutsi were rescued during a daring raid carried out by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi on June 16, 1994.
“I thank these RPF brave soldiers who risked their lives by going behind the enemy lines to rescue us. What surprised us is that they did not ask us to produce our ID cards as it was common practice by the marauding army and militias,” Masereka told the audience.
The Rwandan ID which was bearing mentions of ethnic belonging, was one of the tool the Interahamwe used to identify the Tutsi from the Hutu.
Whoever was found to be Tutsi was executed on spot. However, Masereke said, when it came to RPF, it was never a prerequisite for anyone to be saved to produce the ID.
All they were interested in, was “rescuing, saving the person in danger.”
Later, after the Genocide had been stopped by the RPF soldiers, Masereke returned to her former home to see if anyone could have survived and none had escaped. She managed to exhume the remains of her family members from the pit where the killers had dumped them.
She was able to recognise her father’s remains because when he was killed, he still had his ID card in the pocket of his shirt.
In her speech, Her Excelllency Yamina Karitanyi, Rwanda High Commission to the UK called upon the international community, to “work together to fight the rise of revisionism observed today and whose aim is to rewrite the history of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.”
She also requested the UK to arrest the five Genocide fugitives who roam the streets of the United Kingdom freely, despite being responsible for mass atrocities in Rwanda.
She said that the Rwandan government has issued more than 400 arrest warrants against Rwandan genocidaires on the run in many parts of the world.
Though some countries like Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the US and Canada have all cooperated with Rwanda and either extradited or tried the genocidaires, the UK has shown no interest to follow suit.
“The UK should either send these fugitives to Rwanda, or try them here,” she pointed out, underscoring that for eleven years, efforts to have justice to their victims have been fruitless.
There are five Genocide cases pending in the UK.
They include Dr. Vincent Bajinya Alias Brown, presently a resident of Islington, North London, Celestin Mutabaruka, a Pentecostal Church Pastor and two former mayors from Gikongoro Prefecture.
They include; Charles Munyaneza: Former Mayor of Kinyamakara Commune and Emmanuel Nteziryayo the former Mayor of Mudasomwa, Commune.
The list also include; Celestin Ugirashebuja, former Mayor of Kigoma Commune in Gitarama Prefecture.
Kwibuka 24 in UK included the reading of recitation of message related to the theme – “Remember, Unite, Renew.”