Rwanda honors those killed in genocide 25 years ago

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 02:11s

Rwanda honors those killed in genocide 25 years ago

Rwandan President Paul Kagame began a week of solemn ceremonies on Sunday to commemorate the lives of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus murdered during the Rwandan genocide, a three-month-killing spree that began 25 years ago.

Mia Womersley reports


Rwanda honors those killed in genocide 25 years ago

Rwanda began a week of solemn ceremonies on Sunday (April 07) to commemorate those who lost their lives in the genocide.

800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were murdered during a three-month-killing spree that began 25 years ago.

President Kagame laid a wreath at the Gisozi genocide memorial site, where over a quarter a million of people are buried before the government and foreign dignitaries attended an afternoon of speeches and song.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) RWANDAN PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME, SAYING: "25 years later here we are, all of us - wounded and heart broken, yes, but unvanquished." The 100 days of slaughter began on the night of April 6, 1994 after the country's President and his counterpart of Burundi - both Hutus - were killed when their plane was shot down over the Rwandan capital.

In villages across the densely populated country, neighbor turned on neighbor as men, women and children were hacked to death, burned alive, clubbed and shot.

As many as 10,000 people were killed daily.

Seventy percent of the minority Tutsi population was wiped out, and over 10 percent of the total Rwandan population.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "I give my heart a thousand times over to the survivors and their children; those who have had to move forward and rebuild their lives through such pain and ever with the images seared into their memories.

It is our generation's duty to never forget what humankind is capable of.

It is only by remembering that we can build a brighter future together." The fighting ended in July 1994 when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi-led rebel movement led by Kagame, swept in from Uganda and seized control.

Under Kagame, president since 2000, official policy has been to strongly discourage any talk of ethnicity.

The opposition says the tight control of the media and political sphere is also used to stifle dissent.

Kagame rebuffs such criticism, pointing to Rwanda's strong economic growth and relative peace in the last quarter of a century.

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