The remains of more than 200 people killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been uncovered in a village on the outskirts of the capital Kigali, the country’s memorial centre said Thursday.
The grim find, spread among four mass graves, was made on Sunday in the village of Rusororo by local people who had dug for several days, reaching depths of up to 20 metres (66 feet).
The managing director of the Kigali Memorial Center, Gatera Honore, said it was unsurprising that bodies were still being discovered nearly a quarter-century after the massacres.
“Hiding bodies was always one of the ways they planned to erase all the signs that they committed genocide,” Honore told AFP.
“The bodies found in Rusororo will not be the last to be found.”
The remains will be interred at a “dignified” location where relatives can honour them, he said.
When the bodies were exhumed on Sunday, some genocide survivors tried to identify lost loved-ones on the basis of clothes found in the graves.
The main association representing survivors, Ibuka, believes that the remains are part of a group of around 3,000 people who were brought together at Rusororo during the genocide but whose fate was never clear.
Some Rwandans have expressed shock and dismay in the residents of the community where the mass graves were found and how they kept quiet about them for so many years.
“Those who participated in the killing of our relatives don’t want to tell us where they buried them. How can you reconcile with such people?” asked a tearful France Mukanagazwa. She told The Associated Press she lost her father and other relatives in the genocide and believes their bodies are in the newly found graves.
Around 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda between April and July 1994 at the instigation of the hardline Hutu government.
Most of the victims were members of the Tutsi minority, but there were also Hutu moderates.
The blood-letting was halted when the Hutu extremists were ousted by a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame, who became president in 2000 and remains in office today.
Authorities have launched investigations and those found to have participated in the killings will be prosecuted, Theogen Kabagambire, an official with the genocide charity Ibuka said.