Bisesero is approximately 31kmfrom Kibuye town. This is a mountainous region. Historically, the most of the people that lived in Bisesero area were Tutsis, and their main activity was cattle keeping. People here were known as “Abasesero” from which the area derives its name.
The Bisesero story
During the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, people in other prefectures were all murdered because of their small numbers. Here, however, the Tutsi who lived in Bisesero and the surrounding region gathered together to resist the killers—killers which were their neighbors and other Hutus from surrounding area.
Since then this hill is called Hill of Resistance. The Titsi were successful for some days because they stayed on the top of a hill covered with many rocks that they threw at the advancing attackers who were armed with clubs and machetes.
After some weeks of resistance, Hutu reinforcements from the Republican Guard in Kigali and Interahamwe militiamen arranged a serious attack against the Tutsis at Bisesero hills. The new attackers were armed with modern powerful weapons which the Basesero could not resist for very long and thus succumbed to the genocide. According to testimonies of the survivors from this area, only a few Tutsis who lived in Bisesero escaped, over 50,000 people from the region were killed and an estimate of 1,000 people escaped and survived.
In 1996, soon after the genocide, survivors gathered and came up with a great idea of gathering all the remnants of victims that were scattered over the hills and valleys into one place in order to bury them with dignity. Therefore, they chose Bisesero, the Hill of Resistance. Today, a large number of those remains have been buried, and a small number have been left unburied in order to be placed in the memorial where they will be displayed in order to preserve the memory of what happened in Bisesero area.
Bisesero memorial center is composed of 9 small buildings that represent the 9 communes that formerly made up the province of Kibuye. The official burial ceremonies were in 1998 with collaboration with the National Museum of Rwanda, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture begun the treatment of human bones and skulls. They are now on display, but are still placed in a make-shift building made of wood and corrugated metal sheeting.
African Jungle Adventures can take you around all genocide memorials in Rwanda and share stories about the genocide from survivors found in these places.
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