Home Kwibuka30 Kwibuka 30: Bank of Kigali Honours Former Employees Killed In The Genocide Against The Tutsi

Kwibuka 30: Bank of Kigali Honours Former Employees Killed In The Genocide Against The Tutsi

by Edmund Kagire
2:07 pm

Senior management and staff of BK Group Plc pay their respects to victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at Kigali Genocide Memorial.

BK Group Plc senior management and staff on April 12 joined Rwandans to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, by honouring 15 former employees of Bank of Kigali (BK) who were killed during the 100 massacres that started on April 7.

The group staff and board members led by the CEO, Beata Habyarimana, and Bank of Kigali Managing Director, Dr. Diane Karusisi, paid tribute to the former employees in an event held at the bank premises, where a wreath was laid on the memorial in honour of the deceased former employees located at the headquarters.

The remembrance ceremony and memorial was followed by a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial located in Gisozi, where the bodies of more than 250, 000 genocide victims are resting, with the group employees paying tribute to them and also honouring them through a wreath-laying exercise.

Later on, an interactive session was held, featuring different speakers, from different institutions, commenced, mostly focusing on the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi, how it was planned, right from the 1960s until it was fully implemented in 1994.

BK annually commemorates former employees killed in the Genocide as part of commemoration efforts.

The representative of the families of the BK employees who were commemorated, thanked the bank for its continued efforts to commemorate and remember their relatives who were killed because of how they were born- an act they described as a noble one, to ensure that they are not forgotten.

In a testimony of one of the employees who has been working for BK for 13 years, Jean Claude Nkurayija, who survived in Ruhango District where he hails from, they started being persecuted even before the Genocide was implemented in 1994, where they would be denied education opportunities because of their ethnicity.

“On Mayunze hill where we live, the actual killings started on April 23rd but even before that, people had been fleeing the area and had improvised ways to defend themselves for many years. This goes to show that whatever was happening was deliberate,” Nkurayija said

” At first, the attacks that came did not intend to kill in the first place, but it seems they just wanted to steal cows and food stuff but eventually it became imminent that the attacks would get violent,” he said, adding that people then started fleeing.

“Some went to Byimana Parish to seek refuge but there was a priest known as Joseph Ndagijimana, he was Burundian. He chased them and told them to find another place to hide,” he recalls.

Nkurayija witnessed attacks, particularly targeting his maternal side of the family, where his youthful uncle was killed before their eyes in broad daylight.

“My Uncle was about 25 years old at the time. When he went to meet the attackers who were approaching, to appeal to them on behalf of others who were helpless, they immediately caught him and killed him in front of the gate. The militia got his body and took his heart out,”

“More people were killed on the 24th, which was a Sunday. They gathered many people from their hiding places and brought them up a hill, which we now refer to as ‘Calvary’. There was a rock where they would take them and kill them,” he further recalls.

BK Group Plc CEO, Beata Habyarimana, led the proceedings.

After about two days slaughtering people at the hill, a strong stench started emerging and the killers decided not to continue killing people there and they started to put bodies in toilets and pits that had been dug to get clay to make bricks,” Nkurayija said in his testimony.

CEO BK Group Plc, Habyarimana, said that keeping the memory of the slain former employees and all those killed in the Genocide against the Tutsi is an important activity that ensures that innocent lives are remembered and also the future generations know what happened.

“I am telling you my colleagues in BK, most of you are younger than me but it is important to not just to remember but also understand how discrimination, ethnic divisions and hatred happened in Rwanda more 30 years, climaxing into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and how the same situation is happening in DRC today,” Habyarimana said.

She said that Tutsi massacres had been going on for years until they turned into mass killings that occurred in 1994 and the similar situation is playing out in DRC as the international community watches.

Habyarimana said that what is even more worrisome is to see global leaders, like the U.S Secretary of State, trivialising or denying what happened in Rwanda, well knowing what happened and how the international community failed to intervene and stop the genocide -something she said young people need to be alert to.

She further added that today many people are ignoring what is happening in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), assuming that the situation will pass but it is not the case, instead it escalates. Habyarimana said commemoration in Rwanda is a message to the world that what happened will never happen again and Rwandans are ready to ensure that it never happens again.

Among the 15 slain BK former employees includes one whose relatives and family are yet to be identified.

BK Group staff follow an interactive session on Genocide against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Amphithearter.

 

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