Remains of 32 people have been exhumed from the construction site at Rwanda’s Amahoro National Stadium over the past two weeks, local authorities have said.
Although the remains are suspected to be of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, a process is underway to gather more information about their identity and the circumstances of their death.
Remera Sector’s Social Affairs team leader, Pauline Rutazana, confirmed the development in an interview with The New Times.
“Yes, there are bodies that have been found at the stadium. They have been removed from the site and taken to the premises of the administration of Remera Sector, so that more information is sought regarding them,” she said.
“We are working with Ibuka (Genocide survivors’ umbrella) and village and cell administrations so that we can find people who can identify the victims,” she added.
A meeting is due Thursday, August 31, involving authorities and people who survived the Genocide from Amahoro stadium, in an effort to identify the exhumed.
Those involved will scrutinise the clothes that were unearthed from the site as well as try to recall how the events unfolded during the Genocide nearly 30 years ago.
Amahoro stadium hosted refugees from across the city as killings started in April 1994. The Interahamwe militia and the genocidal military and genderme units attacked the building from time to time before Rwanda Patriotic Army liberators rescued them and helped them flee to the RPA-controlled zones north of Kigali.
A survivor’s take on identity of the remains
retired Reverend Antoine Rutaisire, a survivor of the Genocide, who sought refuge at Amahoro stadium as the killings unfolded, told The New Times that there are many reasons for finding human remains there.
Among these reasons, he said, is the fact that, at the time of the Genocide, there were sector offices and a police station just next to the stadium where people suspected of being accomplices to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (the former political wing of the Rwanda Patriotic Army) were imprisoned.
He said there is a possibility that some of them were killed and buried there. In addition, he said that on the night of April 6, 1994, the roads within the vicinity of the stadium as well as other areas close to Kigali International Airport were targeted by the Interahamwe and government soldiers.
“Many Tutsi who were found on the road were killed,” he said.
He also pointed out that the government army shelled the stadium, targeting the civilians who had fled there.
“Many people were killed,” he recalled, adding that these are likely the same people whose bodies are being exhumed in the area nearly three decades later.
The Gasabo District administration is expected to lead efforts to identify the victims.