7 April 2019

Rwanda Marks 25 Years Since Genocide

Photo: New Times
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame, flanked by first son, Ivan Kagame, are joined by Presidents Idriss Déby Itno of Chad, far left, and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo, far right, in laying wreaths and honouring victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, at Kigali Genocide Memorial, on Sunday morning.

"What happened here will never happen again," said President Paul Kagame. The country will mark the deaths of 800,000 people with a candlelight vigil in a stadium that once sheltered victims.

Thousands of Rwandans, as well as President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame marked the 25th anniversary of the country's 1994 genocide in a somber ceremony on Sunday. The Kagames laid wreaths at a mass burial ground where 250,000 victims have been laid to rest, and leaders from across Africa, the European Union, and Canada also came to take part.

"In 1994, there was no hope, only darkness. Today, light radiates from this place ... How did it happen? Rwanda became a family once again," Kagame said.

The president added that "our people have carried an immense weight with little or no complaint. This has made us better and more united than ever before."

"What happened here will never happen again."

100 days of violence

On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana, an ethnic Hutu, was shot down. Ethnic Tutsis were blamed for the killing, causing bands of extremists to begin slaughtering Tutsis, supported by the army, police, and militias. The violence lasted for 100 days and left 800,000 people dead.

Kagame has ruled Rwanda since the end of the genocide. He has helped steer the country through economic recovery, but has been accused of rights abuses as well as failing to lead a national reconciliation about the violence. Many of the killers remain free and many families were never able to locate their relatives' remains.

President Kagame has also publicly accused the 1994 Hutu-led government of shooting down his predecessor's plane, and has said the French government, which has soldiers stationed in Rwanda, turned a blind eye.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered an investigation into whether his country's government played a role in the genocide, and declared his intention to make April 7 a national day of remembrance.

Later, Kagame will lead a candlelight vigil in Kigali's National Stadium, where 25 years ago many Tutsis sought shelter from the violence under the protection of UN troops. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend.

More on This

25 Years Later, Nation and World Remember Genocide Against the Tutsi

Rwandans in the country and across the world joined by the rest of the global community will today mark the 25th… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Deutsche Welle

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.