Gakenke Tutsis Slaughtered for Supporting RPF Coackroaches

side effects geneva; font-size: small;”>The flame will return to Kigali on 7 April 2014, the start of the national mourning period and twenty years since the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

The persecution of Tutsi in Gakenke was coordinated by the then mayor, Aloys Havugimana, who also participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Tutsi living in the Gakenke area were persecuted and accused of being spies and allies of the “Inyenzi” – a term meaning ‘cockroaches’ that was used by the genocidal government to describe the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

In April 1994, many Tutsi were killed in the area. Interahamwe militias from Kigali, Shyorongi and Giti cy’inyonyi led the attacks against Tutsi who had sought refuge at the Ruli administrative office. The killings continued up to July 1994, when the RPF stopped the genocide.

Between 1997 and 1998, those who killed during the genocide came back as Abacengezi (militia), to hunt and murder survivors and their relatives.


The Rwandan Defence Forces repelled these attacks and peace was restored.

Gakenke District has six genocide memorials where 2,246 victims are resting. A large number of people who were killed in Gakenke will never receive a dignified burial because the killers threw their bodies into the rivers Nyabarongo, Base and Mukungwa.

Survivor of the genocide François Migambi, 48, will give a testimony. François grew up in former Ruli commune and during the genocide watched his family be killed and thrown into the Nyabarongo River. Today he is a famer and building his own home.

A testimony of unity will be given by Marcelle Niyonzima, 50.

Marcelle was taught to hate Tutsi at school and at home but when the genocide began in 1994, turned away from that ideology and instead saved Tutsi. He saved three children and an elderly woman.

A poem called Dukeburane Twubake will be read by award-winning poet Violette Uwamariya at today’s event.

Today’s event will be hosted by Mayor Déogratias Nzamwita and will reflect on the events of 1994 as well as the journey of Gakenke and Rwanda since.

Hon. Evode Imena, Minister of State in the Ministry of Natural Resources in charge of Mining will be the guest of honour.

The Flame of Remembrance will be received from Burera District by two 20-year-old students, Noella Akayezu and Lambert Mahoro. A children’s choir from Ruli Primary School will sing ‘Urumuri Rutazima’ to welcome the flame. The Master of Ceremony for today’s event is Jean de Dieu Sinahamagaye.

The Kwibuka Flame symbolises remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past twenty years.

Carried in a simple lamp, it will be used to light other lamps in communities around Rwanda. To mark twenty years since the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, all memorial fires throughout the country will stem from this single Kwibuka Flame.

On returning to Kigali, President Paul Kagame will use the Kwibuka Flame to light the National Flame of Mourning, marking the official beginning of the national mourning period.

The flame will also be the source of the fire used at the candlelit vigil at Amahoro Stadium on the evening of 7 April 2014.

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