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Rwanda to exhume remains of 30 000 genocide victims

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IOL 03 APR 2020

Rwandan authorities are expected to begin the exhumation of 30 000 sets of remains of 1994 genocide victims.

According to local newspaper The New Times, two weeks ago the Rwanda Agriculture Board deployed equipment to excavate a way out for water at the valley dam located between Nkamba Cell in Ruramira Sector and Gikaya Cell in the Kayonza District.

A local agricultural board official told the newspaper that the exhumation would be done by volunteers in the presence of genocide survivors. The Rwandan genocide saw the killing of over a million people in a civil war between ethnic groups, the Hutus and Tutsis.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has infected at least 82 people the Rwandan government has instituted movement restrictions.

As a result of the restrictions, only a limited number of people would be allowed at the site.

“We are removing the water, and within two days, the whole dam will be drained by at least Friday morning, we will start searching for bodies in the area,” the official was quoted as saying.

Another local online publication ChimpReports cited a statement made by an official from the genocide survivors’s organisation, IBUKA.

“We got information in September last year about the over 30 000 remains that were thrown in the area but because of the terrain we have been failing to exhume the remains until we managed to drain the pond,” the online publication quoted the official as saying.

In April 2018, 51 bodies were discovered in the dam. The remains were buried at the Ruramira Genocide Memorial the following year during the Rwandan genocide commemoration.

It is believed that the bodies were dumped in the valley which flows in a north-easterly direction toward the Nile. 

The New Times said that the act of dumping the bodies in the valley could be interpreted as symbolising the deportation of Tutsis from their homes out of Rwanda.

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