The Republic of Rwanda has marked the 20th remembrance (Kwibuka) of the 1994 genocide that ravaged the country in Abuja yesterday.
The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Habineza told newsmen during the commemoration of the genocide against Tutsis that the sad event was caused by manipulated ethnic division and hatred which led to the widespread killings.
“What is common to Rwandans is bigger than what differentiates them. In Rwanda there is no Hutu land or language, there is no Tutsi land or language. People just manipulated these differences and made us think that we are different.”
He blamed the genocide instigated by Hutu extremists against Tutsis and moderate Hutus on the colonial masters, who played one ethnic group against the other. Over a million people were killed in hundred days of massacre in Rwanda.
“The colonialist really triggered what happened in Rwanda, they came and discontinued our structure, our beliefs, and how we related to each and brought their system, which introduced favoritism. They made the Tutsis to oppress the Hutus and when the Tutsis started to agitate for independence, they changed and went now to favour the Hutus and ask them to push away the Tutsis,” he said.
He added that through purposeful leadership Rwanda has made progress through genuine reconciliation and the establishment of the culture of good governance and democracy.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri, in her address said the commemoration is time to reflect on how to prevent such a tragedy from occurring elsewhere in African continent and in other parts of the world.
“The remembrance is to rededicate ourselves to the prevention of such monumental tragedy and loss,” she said.
She praised the resilience of the people of Rwanda for the rapid effort they have made in reconciliation and economic development since the genocide adding that Nigeria will be in the forefront to take measures against future occurrence.
“Nigeria will continue to stand against genocide to make sure that no country experiences the brutal fangs of genocide and the horrors it imposes on humanity. The international community must say never again and must take preventive measure against any moves to cause genocide in any part of the globe,” she added.
The event was followed by the lighting of the peace and reconciliation flames. “Kwibuka” is the Rwandan word for remember, which now brings the rest of the world to mark the hundred days of massacre of over a million people.
By Innocent Odoh