Home NewsNational To Some Extent I thought I Had No Identity – Genocide Survivor Testifies at Kwibuka30

To Some Extent I thought I Had No Identity – Genocide Survivor Testifies at Kwibuka30

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:14 pm

At the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Genocide survivors recalled the atrocities they experienced with their families as if they happened yesterday and thanked the men and women who paid heavy costs to rescue them.

Marie Louise Ayinkamiye, a mother of five who was 11 years old during the Genocide recalls that when it started on April 7, her family of seven in Kivumu Commune, the western province near the famous Nyange Parish, was displaced and scattered.

“At first I saw that people were unhappy, but I couldn’t understand why until a big family of Ndakubana, our neighbors, were murdered on April 8, 1994,” she said.

Ayinkamiye decided to flee to her godmother located in Ngobagoba village while her other family members chose to go to Nyange Parish.

They were ultimately massacred, and Ayinkamiye felt desperate even in her hiding place.

She recalled that her godmother was Tutsi, and her husband, Hutu, which by the government’s formula, would mean that the family could be safe. But that was not the case.

“Every now and then, a group of Interahamwe would come to search for the lady because they wanted to kill her for being Tutsi,” she said.

The family tried their best to hide Ayinkamiye, but when they found it was too difficult, they sent her to another family to try and save her life.

But as pressure increased, this family was obliged to flee. On their way, the man and his wife were killed at a roadblock.

“They had started accusing them of being accomplices of the Rwanda Patriotic Front-RPF Inkotanyi,” Ayinkamiye recalled.

“At that time I felt personally dead because I could imagine that I was the only person in the world.”

A new family received Ayinkamiye and put her aboard a truck alongside other children. They covered them with a tent as if they were goods.

“We were sent to a place called Ku Rw’impiri, a primary school where we stayed for nearly four weeks,” she said.

“From that place, I heard the elderly saying, ‘Wow! Inkotanyi have overthrown the genocidal government, we can return home now.’ But for me, I thought I had nowhere to call home because I couldn’t believe I had an identity anymore.

At that time, Ayinkamiye and other people from the camp were put aboard a truck and handed over to the RPF.

“Your excellency, thank you for tracking us and finding us where we were desperate,” she said.

“When I reached in Gitarama, I was lucky to meet my mother, my young brother, and later on, my elder brother who had joined the RPF.”

Since that moment, Ayinkamiye has prospered; she has gone to school, worked hard and eventually earned a Master’s degree, thanks to the opportunities provided by the Government of Unity.

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