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France's Macron asks Rwanda for forgiveness over genocide

By Reuters and Winfrey Owino | May 27th 2021 | 2 min read
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Rwanda early Thursday, May 27. [Reuters]

French President Emmanuel Macron has apologised to Rwanda over the 1992 genocide.

On Thursday, May 27, the French Head of State said only Rwandans could forgive France for its role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

"On this path, only those who went through that night can perhaps forgive, give us the gift of forgiving," Macron said in the most anticipated speech at the genocide memorial of Gisozi in Kigali, where more than 250,000 Tutsi were buried.

France did not listen to those who warned it about the impending massacre in Rwanda and stood de facto by a genocidal regime, Macron said.

But France "was not an accomplice" to the genocide, Macron added.

Macron jetted into Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, on Thursday morning to hold talks with President Paul Kagame in what is seen as a highly symbolic visit.

The visit is aimed at repairing broken ties between the two countries after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 genocide.

International media house Aljazeera reports that some people in Rwanda were hoping for an official apology of France’s failure to stop the 100-day killing that affected more than 800, 000 people.

“It would be a very good thing if Emmanuel Macron apologises,” the director of the Aegis Trust NGO which runs the Kigali memorial Freddy Mutanguha said.

In March 2021, a report by a French inquiry panel showed that French officials had been blinded by an attitude from the colonial times which made them not foresee the genocide.

Rwandans could “maybe not forget, but forgive”, France for its role, said Kagame who is on record saying that France participated in the genocide.

Kagame who has visited Paris twice since he became president, has been pushing for this apology for some time.

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