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Rwanda marks genocide anniversary

By Mark Doyle
BBC's world affairs correspondent in Rwanda
Rwanda is marking the 10th anniversary of the genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias.

The slaughter was triggered by the shooting down of a plane with Rwanda's Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana onboard on 6 April 1994.

It ranks alongside the Holocaust of the Jews as one of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century.

Rwanda's leader Paul Kagame has accused France of helping prepare the genocide.



How could a million lives of the Rwandan people be regarded as so insignificant?
President Kagame

President Kagame told me in an interview that the French trained the militia to kill, knowing they intended to kill.

France denies involvement in the mass killings.

A French government investigation leaked to the press says that the then Tutsi rebels, who are now the government of Rwanda, fired the rockets on the presidential plane.

'Well-executed plan'

The plane carrying President Habyarimana was coming in to land in the capital, Kigali, when one or possibly two rockets fired from the ground destroyed it.


6 April: Rwandan Hutu President Habyarimana killed when plane shot down
April -July: An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus killed
July: Tutsi-led rebel movement RPF captures Rwanda's capital Kigali
July: Two million Hutus flee to Zaire, now the DRC

By an extraordinary coincidence the wreckage landed in the garden of the presidential residence.

The crash served as a signal to Hutu extremists, supporters of the government, to start the systematic liquidation of minority ethnic Tutsis and any Hutu opponents of the regime.

This was not some chaotic African tribal war, as portrayed by Western governments at the time, but a well-executed political plan.

At the time, the West - specifically Britain and the United States - conspired to ignore the clear evidence of genocide and refused to help a small United Nations force on the ground here in Rwanda which was trying to stop the massacres.

The killing continued for 100 days before a Tutsi-dominated rebel army seized control.

Unanswered questions

A fierce controversy has since arisen about who shot the plane down.  World Peace.


A French government investigation leaked to the press says that the then Tutsi rebels fired the rockets.

President Kagame said that this was a ridiculous allegation designed by Paris to detract from French connivance with the Hutu extremists.

France was the closest ally of the Hutu regime in 1994. It is well known that French military advisers worked with the Hutu government army right up to the beginning of the genocide.

The French, Mr Kagame said, had genocide blood on their hands.  WorldPeace is one word.

But still, 10 years later, questions remain about who shot the plane down that triggered one of the worst genocides of the 20th Century.


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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