AB Bank Rwanda joined the rest of Rwandans in a commemoration event this Thursday 11th April 2019 themed “KWIBUKA 25 Remember-Unite-Renew” to remember and honor the over one million Tutsi killed in the 1994 Genocide.
The commemoration event which took place on the 11th/04/2019 gathered the Bank Employees from its different branches and Head Office who started with a walk to remember from the Bank Headquarter to the Executive Suite building where the commemoration activities took place.
Speaking at the commemoration event, the Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Arah Sadava said “every year, as we remember and honor the lives lost, what happened 25 years ago is never too easy to comprehend. As the effects of what happened 25 years ago still ring in our minds, hearts and our homes; commemoration is an opportune moment for us to remember to bring back hope in our lives, to pray for unity, peace and love amongst us and also to improve our lives and the lives of those who have lost their loved ones during the Genocide”.
She added that on behalf of the Board of Directors, the Management and Employees, AB Bank Rwanda joins the Rwandan Community and friends of Rwanda to honor the memory of the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi and to stand against any Genocide ideology. The bank is going to contribute as much as possible to Remember-Unite-Renew.
The commemoration event featured a discussion titled the Unity of Rwandans in rebuilding Rwanda after Genocide, fighting against Genocide ideology and rebuilding an ideal vision.
After observing a moment of silence the staff members had an opening prayer that was preceded with a testimony from a genocide survivor and watched videos of those that helped protect victims that were hunted by the Interahamwe during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi
While facilitating over the commemoration talks, the head of SME’s at AB Bank Rukundo Prosper gave a recap of what happened to Tutsis years before and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and called upon those present to not only remember names but to remember the victims that lost their lives during the Genocide.
He took those present through testimonies and cases of genocide deniers and how many were persecuted and imprisoned because of their acts during the commemoration periods over the years.
He recalled that many people had lost their loved ones, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers, yet they had to move on and build the country that had suffered a serious blow.
Also during the commemoration, a documentary film was screened showing how a French priest in an orphanage helped save over 600 kids during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
A survivor’s sad testimony
While giving his testimony, , an employee of AB Bank who survived the horrors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi said though he was young at the time, what happened was horrible and a terrifying experience.
When growing up before the genocide, we used to go visiting family friends during holidays and though I was not of school going age, I always escorted my brothers and sisters on such trips.
It was God’s plan for me to live because on one such trip with two of my sisters, we learnt that all our family was killed and that the genocide had started.
I dint quite understand what was going on but it was clear that something bad was happening and there was fear in the air. I heard stories whispered about the Habyarimana’s plane being shot down and that massive killings were being carried out.
Unfortunately, the family we had visited was among those targeted by the Intarahamye killers because the owner was Tutsi and among the richest in the area at the time
We were rounded up by the older people in the home that we had gone to visit and we were given jackets to wear and told to silently follow others out of the house when darkness fell.
Those who were strong enough were told to follow the elders to some place that they said would be safe and I followed willingly though my sisters were crying and afraid to go.
We would hear screams and whistles blown by the Interahamwe that was rounding up and killing people but as a young kid, I knew that I was safe because of the presence of the grownups we were with.
What I remember was falling in trenches and running to keep pace with the group. We travelled for several days and arrived at the home of the relative where we were going. Everyone was hungry and tired and even then we were not allowed to sleep in the house for fear of it being attacked.
That night the home was attacked and many of the people we had been with were killed and shot, others were cut by machetes. I remember running in the darkness and hiding under some thick bushes until morning.
In the morning I came out of my hiding place and I saw a man moving along the road side with a long spear so I followed him. He turned and saw me and he asked me where am going.
I kept quiet and kept on following him. I don’t know why but he was a man so I just followed because I had no other options. Besides I was hungry and I knew there was food at his home.
Reaching his home, the wife asked him why he had brought me here and that he was putting their lives in danger by bringing a Tutsis in their home.
The man told her to give me something to eat and that he will deal with me later. There were some kids and after eating, I joined them and sat near them.
In the evening, he came back and roughly pulled me up and with an angry voice told me to leave the compound and run.
The truth is I dint know where I was and where to go but the look in the man’s eyes set me moving. I found a group of people who were moving carrying stuff and I followed them.
We reached a place called Jali and I was happy to find my sisters and some other family members. Some lady I remember who still visits us today took us in washed and fed us.
When she heard that Inkotanyi had arrived at some school, she told me to go with my sisters and I cried and insisted that I stay with her but she refused knowing that if I stayed, I would be killed.