Rwanda remembers genocide 25 years later

Tutsi pastor Anastase Sambamungu(left) and Hutu teacher Nyamutera Joseph at Rwanda cemetery where 6000 victims were buried. Photo: World Vision.
Rwanda has begun 100-day mourning for over 800,000 people massacred in the 1994 genocide, that left the nation on its knees as the rest of the world was reeling in shock.

Majority of those killed by Hutu extremists were Tutsis, the minority group.

Despite gaining economic stability the trauma that comes with remembering the genocide will live to be a thorny issue. 

Commemoration of this historical event has in the past elicited painful flashbacks among many who witnessed how their relatives and friends were killed.

President Paul Kagame who has steered the country from scratch since the end of the genocide will lead the one-week commemoration activities by lighting a remembrance flame at the Gisozi memorial site where 250,000 victims are believed to have been buried.

The 61-year-old president will thereafter make a speech at Kigali Convention Center then lead a vigil at Amahoro  (peace) National Stadium. The venue was used by the United Nations to protect the Tsustis from the skating attacks of the Hutus.

Many African leaders are expected to attend the event with the former colonial ruler Belgium being represented by its Prime Minister Charles Michel.

France once accused of fueling the genocide by supporting the Hutu-led government will be represented by a Rwandan-born MP.

The genocide began when the plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down killing all on board. This sparked sporadic violence as Hutu accused the Tsutsis of orchestrating the plan to kill the then Habyarimana.

On a revenge mission, Hutu extremist drafted a plan using local radio stations to incite the killings of Tutsis. Roadblocks were mounted to find them. And in appalling brutality, many were butchered using machetes and other weapons.

If not for Paul Kagame who led the rebel forces that neutralized the extremist group perhaps Rwanda could have never known peace.

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President Paul KagameRwanda GenocideHutuTutsis