20th anniversary of Rwanda genocide marked at the Kigali genocide memorial centre

Apr 9, 2014 18:56 IST

Rwanda on 7 April 2014 marked the 20th Anniversary of the beginning of devastating 100-day genocide. President Paul Kagame and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, lit a flame at the Kigali genocide memorial centre.

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It was estimated that more than 1 million Rwandans perished in three months of machete and gunfire attacks, mostly by extremist Hutus on the country's minority Tutsi population.

Hundreds of mass graves were dug across the country to bury the victims of what the government says was a long-planned killing spree that ignited after the plane of the then-president Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. Kagame led a Tutsi military force from neighbouring Uganda into Rwanda to end the mass murders.

Background

The Rwandan Genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. During the approximate 100-day period from April 7, 1994 to mid-July, an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, constituting as much as 20% of the country's total population and 70% of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda.

The genocide was planned by members of the core political elite known as the akazu, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government.

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