As our Land Rover supported geographic and humanitarian expedition travels along the Rwandan shoreline of the beautiful Lake of Kivu, we are constantly reminded of the horrors of the genocide.
At Bisesero in the hill above the lake, a mass grave honours a unique group of Tutsis who successfully resisted their killers for almost 100 days. With bows and arrows stones, hiding under the rotten bodies of those who had already fallen, in order to surprise and ambush the militiamen, eating leaves and grass and drinking the morning dew to survive, they thought of wave after wave of Interahamwe and RGF troops until the French soldiers finally arrived.
Nearly twelve thousand were still alive when they were persuaded by a French patrol that the genocide was over and they could safely come out of hiding. The French soldiers subsequently withdrew to get more personnel and vehicles to evacuate them as well as bring humanitarian relief supplies, without leaving any security behind.
The Interahamwe killers monitoring all this, then moves in for the coup de grâce, slaughtering these survivor heroes on their thousands. Only a few scrambled back up the hills and survived to tell this tale of mass slaughter. Heavy thoughts for our small group of expeditioners attempting to complete the Great African Rift valley fromDjibouti toMozambique – will keep you posted.