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Bishop defends Rwandan Church 'humiliated' by false accusations

A Rwandan bishop said he's saddened by international accusations that the Catholic Church was directly involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Bishop Frederic Rubwejanga of Byumba, who is also President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa, was interviewed in Dakar by Sene galese Catholic monthly, Horizons Africains.

"These false accusations have served the enemies of the Church in Rwanda and the rest of the world", he said. "Do you really think that an episcopal conference or pastoral team could have given instructions to start a genocide? I do not think so, although this is what we are being accused of."

Bishop Rubwejanga expressed his belief that eventually "the truth will come out:.

Noting that Rwandan priests and religious in exile are not serving their Church by staying in Europe and other foreign countries, he called them gather the courage to return to Rwanda, if they are innocent as they claim to be.

When asked why a Christian country like Rwanda could have become the scene of so much bloodshed, Bishop Rubwejanga stressed that the reasons are very complex and based on old social inequalities which have unfortunately led to explosions of violence. He said he found it difficult to accuse anyone and that it was up to the Rwandans themselves to take their destiny as Africans into their own hands through education and development.