November 1, 2019

Genocide Convicts In Just One Kigali Jail Reveal Over 120 New Mass Graves

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Mass graves of Tutsis killed in 1994 are still being discovered, 25 years after. Here in Kabuga, outside Kigali, several mass graves were exhumed late last year.

Genocide convicts in Mageragere prison, the biggest in Kigali, have pinpointed 126 locations they say have mass graves in which victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi were buried.

Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye was told of the mass graves on Thursday during a visit to the facility by its commander Chief Superintendent (CS) Kayumba Innocent.

He said in the four months he has been managing the jail, he introduced a program in which genocide convicts reach out to survivors. One of the ways is by sending letters in which they confess what they know and seek for forgiveness from the survivors.

It is within this program that inmates named the 126 locations. CS Kayumba said they will need Justice Ministry backing to facilitate a program whereby the convicts will be taken to point at the exact sites.

During the genocide, rampaging civilian militias aided by government security forces killed people who had usually sought refuge in different places including homes and schools, and buried them in mass graves to hide the evidence. Some Tutsis were matched to their deaths and then all hacked to death, and put in mass graves.

For the last 25 years, hundreds of mass graves have been exhumed. But it seems, the exhumation may never end.

Last month, 104 victims were exhumed from a mass grave outside a Catholic church in Cyanika sector, Nyamagabe district. These were found by a woman working in the garden on the site.

If indeed there is this number of sites revealed by inmates at just Mageragere prison, yet there are more than 15 prisons in the country, it could mean thousands of more victims will come to light to be given descent burials.

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