RUTANA February 28th (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), proceeded, on Friday, February 25, 2022, to the provisional closure of the activities of exhumation of the human remains of the victims thrown in mass graves in the province of Rutana during the years 1972-1973.
Those activities were marked by an ecumenical prayer in memory of these victims in the presence of the second vice Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Abel Gashatsi accompanied by the governor of that province.
The TRC secretary general, Mrs. Léa Pascasie Nzigamasabo said that this commission exhumed 497 human remains in 11 mass graves verified and confirmed in the communes of Rutana, Bukemba, Mpinga-Kayove, Giharo and Gitanga. She also pointed out that this number is only a sample, because according to her, several victims were thrown into rivers; others were charred and more than 3,000 human remains buried in a mass grave were washed away by the waters of the Musasa River, she added.
According to Nzigamasabo, Bukemba commune suffered serious killings compared to other communes. He specified that in this entity, Hutus and children were burned in an oven.
Others were thrown into the Musasa, Mutsindozi and Muyovozi rivers by soldiers, Rwandan refugees coming to Rutovu and Matana communes.
The TRC secretary also reported that in Rutana, women and children were also killed in large numbers. She said the murderers forcibly aborted pregnant women, then roasted those corpses in ovens before ordering them to eat the bodies of their children.
Mrs. Nzigamasabo added that the murderers used lies to round up the Hutus. She mentioned the case of Bukemba where they passed through households indicating that at the market, there is a white man who buys bananas at a high price. Most of those who went to the market with bananas died. He also pointed out that the survivors were also killed by the soldiers when they came to take revenge from Tanzania.
In his speech for the occasion, the second vice-Speaker of the National Assembly encouraged the TRC in its activities to bring the truth to light. He also asked that commission to continue to investigate other crises experienced by Burundi. Mr. Gashatsi then called on the people to continue giving their testimonies. He encouraged the perpetrators of the 1972 killings against the Hutu to publicly ask for forgiveness, because according to him always, any culprit is able to be forgiven provided that he recognizes his crime and asks for forgiveness. Note that there are other mass graves in that province that this commission has not yet verified and confirmed.