I&M Bank Rwanda joined Rwandans and friends to commemorate the victims of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. The bank remembered its staff that lost their lives in the tragedy.
Hundreds of people including I&M Bank, formerly known as Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) staff, families of victims, took to Nyanza in Kicukiro where approximately 4000 people were killed in 1994 after they had been abandoned by the UN Peacekeepers for Rwanda who were known as MINUAR.
The I&M Bank Rwanda Managing Director Robin Bairstrow said that the Bank remembers the 1994 genocide against Tutsi that killed a million victims “among them, 23 members of staff from our institution who lost their lives.”
Robin Bairstrow said, ” There is nothing we can do about the past apart from remembering our lost ones. But, there is always something we can do about our present in creating our future and I&M Bank Rwanda will always be part of that journey.”
“As an institution that has been part of society and its transformation for many years, I can say that any commitment to do more in helping genocide survivors will always be guaranteed. We have reconstructed the houses of widows and the orphans of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.”
“For 2018, we have identified and visited a disabled widow in the Western Province and we are working with the relevant authorities to extend the full support to her,” he added.
“We have continued with our pledge to support the families of our staff that were killed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi by offering some of them internship opportunities,” The I&M Bank Rwanda Managing Director revealed.
Robin Bairstrow acknowledged the main support of the Rwandan government towards the lives of genocide survivors, the reconciliation ethics and the efforts to rebuild Rwanda as an enviable home for all.
He appealed, “every one of us to continue to act in ensuring a better Rwanda, fighting the genocide ideology and all reforms of injustice that dehumanize our people.”
Venuste Karasira, a genocide survivor, gave the testimony to the participants about how he survived the genocide in which he lost his right arm while so many other victims (counting to 4000) lost their lives at Nyanza, Kicukiro.
Karasira recounted the way Tutsi were discriminated before the genocide as they were deprived of their basic rights both in education and at work.
Karasira said that after the plane carrying late President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down, thousands of Kicukiro, Gikondo and in other areas around started fleeing to Eto Kicukiro where the UN Peacekeeping troops camped as they thought they would find a safe refuge there.
Karasira says that on April 10, a committee of the population who had fled to former ‘ETO Kicukiro’ known today as IPRC Kigali, asked the MINUAR soldiers to help them cross to Amahoro Stadium and Remera areas where the RPF fighters had captured but they refused.
“On April 11, 1994,” Venuste Karasira recounted, “we saw the UN troops packing their stuffs, we could see they were going to leave us soon. When we asked them, they replied ‘we may leave but don’t worry, the army and the gendarmes will protect you’. And off they left as the young men lied in the street to prevent them from leaving but they shot in the air which frightened the boys who ran.”
“The Interahamwe militia who had all sorts of traditional weapons and the soldiers told us to Sonatubes (Kicukiro) and when we arrived there, one of them said ‘we will take you to a safe place where we will protect you’ and they brought us here in Nyanza ya Kacukiro where they started throwing grenades and started killing people with machetes.”