TEARS flowed yesterday at the 11th commemoration of the Rwanda genocide, as witnesses gave moving testimonies next to mass graves of victims in Mpigi district.
Silence descended on the venue as guests, who included ministers and ambassadors, moved around five big mass graves where 955 victims were buried after their bodies were retrieved from Lake Victoria.
The victims were hacked to death in Rwanda and their bodies dumped in tributaries of Kagera river, from where they floated into Lake Victoria up to Golo landing site.
Several guests pulled out handkerchiefs to wipe their eyes as former Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Victoria Namusisi gave a graphic description of floating bodies.
Namusisi, who supervised the retrieval and burial of the bodies in 1994, told of iron bars protruding through stomachs of victims and others tied together with wires and bearing big torture marks.
There was silence and murmurs in the guestsâ€™ tent as Namusisi told of how five bodies, including that of a mother and her daughterâ€™s, tied on her back and retrieved in a bundle.
â€œOne scene that will never get out of my mind is that of a middle-aged lady, decently dressed in a beautiful kitenge, about one year-old baby-girl on her back with her doll, two other girls and a boy (3-7 years) pieced together with an iron bar through their chests with their legs tied together with ropes,â€ she said, prompting more tears.
Namusisi said the now well-maintained landing site was a bush of tall grass that enabled marauding dogs to put up a fight against volunteers, both looking for bodies, but for different reasons.
Rwandan ambassador Ignatius Kamali said there were four burial sites in Masaka, one in Rakai and another in Mpigi, containing 11,136 bodies.
He said annual celebrations to remember the genocide would be rotated around the six sites. Minister of state for regional cooperation Augustine Nshimye, who was chief guest, gave out certificates of recognition to 15 residents who guided the retrieval exercise.
Tears flow for Rwanda