Rwamagana: Seven genocide perpetrators repent, apologize to survivor families

On 7 December 2020 at 09:05

Six men and a woman in Rwamagana district have repented and apologized to families for which they killed relatives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The reconciliation took place on Sunday in Rwamagana Catholic Church coordinated by ‘Abagabuzi b’Amahoro ya Kirisitu’, an organization founded by Priest Ubald Rugirangoda involved in peace and reconciliation initiatives. The perpetrators were forgiven and urged to encourage fellows to do the same.

The apology by genocide perpetrators is part of the program aimed at promoting forgiveness to restore cordial social interactions among Rwandans.

Paul Muragwabugabo, hailing from Ruramira sector participated in the killing of seven victims including the husband of Liberatha Nakazana who forgave the perpetrator.

Muragwabugabo said they killed the victims with big sticks and later collaborated with others to steal roofing sheets from Nakazana’s house. He personally took away three roofing sheets.

“I plead guilty and apologize for being part of the gang that killed her husband. Secondly, I conspired in robbery. I could not participate in killings if I refused to grab weapons. All the evils I did would not happen. I apologize for that,” he said.

Muragwabugabo appealed on the youth to shun seductions into evil acts. He apologized to the church, the Government of Rwanda and surviving families.

Liberatha Nakazana revealed that she forgave the man from the deepest of her heart.

She is among other survivors who learnt about the perpetrator who killed relatives through the unity and reconciliation program seeking to reunite survivors and perpetrators.

An old woman, Agnes Uwimana explained that preaching from the organization pushed her to seek the perpetrator who killed relatives and a woman who took part in demolishing her house to forgive them.

“I used to feel isolated avoiding public interactions lest I meet with perpetrators who killed relatives. I would not leave home after this man was released for fear he would kill me. The preaching transformed me that I later invited and forgave him. It relieved my heart, though the man at first doubted my forgiveness because I used to avoid him. Today, the situation has changed for good. He passes by my home and normally interacts with me,” she said.

The President of IBUKA, umbrella organization of genocide survivors in Rwamagana district, Dative Musabyeyezu explained that seeking apology and forgiveness is a good step gradually made by Rwandans to promote unity and reconciliation.

She revealed that genocide survivors are glad for such programmes encouraging perpetartors to make apologies and requested people to disclose information regarding locations of remains of genocide victimsso as to accord them decent burial.

The director of peace building and conflict resolution at the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Laurence Mukayiranga said that forgiveness is a good step towards unity and reconciliation.

“Those who sought forgiveness after apologizing opened doors for improved social interactions. The next move is to engage in emotional healing, counseling, sharing information and truth on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” she highlighted.

Mukayiranga appealed to perpetrators to educate others in the same ilk to emulate the same.

Perpetrators who sought forgiveness admitted their crimes while in prison and were released. They received six-month pacification on unity and reconciliation and helped to link up with offended families on the support of ‘Abagabuzi b’Amahoro ya Kirisitu’.

Survivors stretched hands to perpetrators as a symbol of forgiveness.