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Rwandan peacekeepers in Malakal (South Sudan) and Bria (CAR) mark 23rd Commemoration of Genocide against the Tutsi

The Rwandan contingents including Military peacekeepers, Police and Correction Service Components and staff officers working under UNMISS in Malakal (Sector North) were joined by the UN Family and the Secretary General of Central Upper Nile State representing the government of South Sudan to mark the 23rd Commemoration of genocide against the Tutsi.

The commemoration took place on 7 April 2017 at the UNMISS Rwanbatt2 Camp main Hall, Malakal. The commemoration was marked by lighting candles of hope, watching documentary films about the Genocide against the Tutsi and remarks from key officials.

The Head of Field Office in Sector North, who was the guest of honor, led other Participants in lighting candles of hope. In her remarks, the Guest of Honour, Madam Hazel DeWet, Head of Field Office in Sector North, congratulated Rwandans for refusing to be held back by the tragedy and commended them for all achievements after brutal killings of innocent people that led Rwanda into 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. She hailed Rwanda for having stepped forward in peace and stability and in supporting other countries in peace keeping/ building.

The Rwanbatt2 Commanding Officer,  Lt Col Joseph MWESIGYE reminded those present of the importance of the day to Rwanda and Rwandans “It is a time to reflect on Rwanda’s story and journey of reconciliation and nation building, and look onto the future with hope, optimism and renewed commitment to dignity, self-reliance and shared human values”.

A similar ceremony was held on 7 April 2017, in Bria/ Central Africa Republic, where Rwanda Level II Hospital peacekeepers (RWAMEDII) serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) were joined by local authorities and MINUSCA officials to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of Genocide against the Tutsi. The commemoration took place at RWAMED II headquarters in Bria town, Hautte-Kotto Province, East of Central Africa Republic.

Governor Serge Ivon Lessen (left) and MINUSCA official laying wreath

The Governor of Hautte-Kotto Province, Mr. Serge Ivon LESSEN who represented CAR authorities at the commemoration said he was very saddened by what happened during 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He said that the fact that the genocide was stopped by Rwandans give lesson to Central Africans that they can also solve their own problems. 

In his remarks, the Commanding Officer, Col Dr John BYIMANA reminded those present how the Genocide against the Tutsi was prepared and executed and how it was stopped by the Rwanda Patriotic Army, today Rwanda Defence Force. He said that Rwanda refused to be held back by the bad history and has rebuilt from ashes of Genocide against Tutsi and currently contributes peacekeepers to build peace in other countries. 

The commemoration event was also marked by lighting a memorial flame and laying wreaths in honor of the victims, as well as testimonies from those who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.