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Rwanda: Peacekeepers Pay Tribute to Genocide Victims

Published: 04-11-12

Reprinted from All Africa:

Local communities in the war-ravaged western Sudanese region of Darfur, on Saturday, joined Rwandan troops serving under the AU/UN Peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and peacekeepers from other countries, in commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The main event was held at the headquarters of UNAMID in the compound of Rwanbatt 29 in the provincial capital, El Fasher, where commemoration events included laying of wreaths around the Rwandan, AU and UN flags.

"Let us learn the moral lessons of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and denounce ethnic and tribal rivalry and thus, embrace each other in a spirit of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence," UNAMID Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, is quoted as saying during the event.

General Nyamvumba noted that for the last 18 years, Rwandans have worked to rebuild their lives and chart a new course for their country's future.

He said the only way to truly honour the memory of victims was to ensure that such tragedies never occur again. The Force Commander called on his compatriots to continue to build on a new Rwanda devoid of acrimony and violence.

"Today, Rwanda is growing, and Rwanda is sending peacekeepers to United Nations missions in different parts of the world to show our commitment and determination to cultivate peace, development, and concern for humanitarian issues," the Force Commander observed.

A community leader in El Fasher, Sheik Haron Musa, expressed sympathy with the tragedy, which he said claimed the lives of "our brothers and sisters, as well as children in Rwanda" stressing the need for peaceful co-existence in Africa, irrespective of tribes, colour and religion.

In an emotion-laden testimony, Albert Attwell, of the UNAMID mission support centre, who witnessed the Genocide, described what he saw as "man inhumanity to man."

Attwell recounted: "I saw most of the killings of children, women and men of Tutsi origin and Hutus who refused to cooperate with killers. In fact, I saw hell during the Genocide."

He paid tribute to the people and government of Rwanda for the resilience and dignity they have shown in working towards national recovery and managing the trauma of the Genocide.

Some UNAMID workers stressed the need to promote education, as a tool to help reconciliation and understanding between the people.

The commemoration in the compound of Rwanbatt 29 also involved observance of a minute silence to honour the victims, survivors, as well as a night vigil.

Similar events were held in Kabkabiya in North Darfur and Nyala in South Darfur.

Rwanda has over 3,200 peacekeepers in Darfur.