• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Guided tour to the memorial sites of the 1972-1973 genocide


Mar 5, 2024

GITEGA March 4th (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), organized, Friday March 1, a guided tour for deputies of the National Assembly of Burundi to the memory sites of the 1972 genocide- 1973. Those are the sites of Mashitsi in Giheta commune in Gitega province (center of the country) and Ruvubu on Bukirasazi hill in Shombo commune in Karusi province, a check on the site by ABP has revealed. That delegation of deputies was led by the 1st vice-president of the national assembly, Dr Sabine Ntakarutimana and the 2nd vice-president, Mr. Abel Gashatsi. They were welcomed by the president of the CVR, Mr. Pierre Claver Ndayicariye.

That visit began at the trade’s education center in the town of Gitega (political capital) where the remains which were discovered by the CVR are currently provisionally preserved. Then, the deputies headed to the Mashitsi site where they observed four mass graves in which the CVR excavated 1,761 victims. Afterwards, they headed to the site of the Ruvubu bridge which is an emblematic site of the 1972 genocide against the Bahutu. There, the deputies noted eight mass graves in which the CVR exhumed 7,348 victims. Added to those numbers is a good quantity of bones crushed by the bulldozer machine following compaction during their burial, said Mr. Ndayicariye.

The CVR chairman reported that all the mass graves excavated around Ruvubu and in Mashitsi were dug by excavating machines which traced the national road No. 2 “RN12” linking Bugarama and Gitega, because the traces of the teeth of their shovels were still visible on the walls of the pits.

He further reported that people were thrown into those mass graves in a stacked manner and were crushed because those excavating machines after a tipper poured laterite on those victims. Mr. Ndayicariye also reported that according to testimonies collected by the CVR, the people thrown into the Ruvubu site came from the current provinces of Gitega, Karusi, Mwaro, Muramvya, Ngozi, Muyinga, Kirundo and elsewhere such as the city of Bujumbura.

Natives of the central region were apprehended and taken to the central prison of Gitega before being transported to the mass graves located on Ruvubu or in Giheta commune to the mass graves of Nyambeho, Mutobo, Mashitsi and Nyabunyovu, he said. He specifies.

The president of the CVR asked the deputies to advocate so that that commission has an appropriate place to keep all the bones excavated throughout the country, to build a museum of memory for those victims, to provide the CVR with sufficient resources and qualified personnel for the execution of new tasks which fell within the competence of the CNTB but also to protect the spaces in which the CVR exhumed those human remains, because according to Ndayicariye, “Burundians must learn to listen to the dead”.

The 1st vice-president of the national assembly welcomed the step already taken by the TRC in the search for the truth on various tragedies that the country has gone through. She hoped that that commission would have sufficient resources to continue that work. He indicated that all concerns expressed by the TRC will be transmitted to the president of the national assembly in order to see how to find answers. Note that the marking and protection of the Mashitsi site and that of Ruvubu were carried out with memory trees, namely ficus, erythrines and others such as ibitongati, inganigani, umukoni, etc., in accordance with Burundian culture. We also planted protective grass on the edges of the exhumed mass graves.