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Feature: Rwanda Remembers Queen Gicanda Killed in Genocide

Rwanda has remembered Rosalia Gicanda, the last queen of Rwanda, who was killed during the 1994 genocide that claimed more than a million lives.

Queen Gicanda.

Queen Gicanda was the widow of King Mutara III Rudahigwa, the ruler of Rwanda who passed on in 1959 shortly before the country gained independence from Belgium.

After her husband died in mysterious circumstances in 1959, the Rwandan monarchy lasted for two years, under the leadership of Mwami Kigeli V and then coming to an end in 1961.

However, the Queen continued to live in Butare, now Huye district, Southern Province until she was brutally murdered by Hutu extremists during the genocide.

King Mutara Rudahigwa and Queen Gicanda of Rwanda way back in the days.

The Queen was a living symbol for Tutsis; her murder effectively signalled the beginning of the mass killing of Tutsi ethnic minorities in the Butare area, which saw some of the worst atrocities committed during the fighting.

The memorial event to remember Queen Gicanda was held in Nyanza District, southern Rwanda and was attended by the Rwanda First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) officials, and relatives of the deceased Queen.

Speaking to reporters after the memorial event, Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of Ibuka, an umbrella association of Rwanda genocide survivors said that Queen Gicanda is among more than a million innocent lives lost in the face of genocide regime.

"We shall always remember Queen Gicanda for her nobility and best character. She was loved by many Rwandans and she was humble, generous and loving mother," he said.

People to remember, Queen Gicanda and her husband during their life back in time.

Dusingizemungu called on Rwandans to always remember and unite as they look forward for a brighter future of the country’s next generation.

In 2012, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced ex-military officer in the genocide regime Ildephonse Nizeyimana, to life in prison after being found guilty of ordering the killing of the former Tutsi queen, Rosalie Gicanda, and other murders.

The 22nd anniversary of Rwanda genocide is held under the theme; "Kwibuka22: Fighting Genocide Ideology."

The activities to mark 22nd genocide commemoration continue up to July 4, 2016, marking 100 days of genocide.

By Robert Muriisa.

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