Remembering Gatumba, four years on
The most heart-wrenching account of brutality that I’ve ever heard was the testimony given by Janvier Mudagiri at the August 2006 commemoration of the attack that had taken place at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi two years earlier. Janvier recounted how, after the initial onslaught, in which the attackers hunted down and killed every Banyamulenge Tutsi they could find, everything went quiet. A little while later, a group of men returned, calling out that they had come to rescue whoever was still alive. Janvier, who was hiding in the ruins of the camp with a group of children, realised quickly that these were not rescuers, but killers, bent on finishing off what they had started. But amid the chaotic situation, he was unable to stop a number of the children from running out towards their pretended rescuers – and could do nothing but watch as they were gunned down.
This year’s commemoration event, which is being organised by Ubuntu, the international peacebuilding group founded by those who lost loved ones at Gatumba, will take place at the office of Amnesty International UK, on:
Saturday 16th August, from 1.30pm.
The full address is:
The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA.
A number of the survivors will be joining the commemoration, and Ubuntu campaigners will be discussing both the ongoing struggle for justice, and the measures that need to be taken to stem the flood of lethal weapons into Central Africa.