World, Africa

African Union marks 26 years since Rwanda genocide

Commemoration is opportunity to reflect and continue to fight genocide and its ideology, says Moussa Faki Mahamat

Felix Nkambeh Tih   | 07.04.2020
African Union marks 26 years since Rwanda genocide



A top continental leader on Tuesday called on all Africans to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the genocide of Rwanda’s ethnic Tutsis that claimed over 1 million people.

''Although we will not be formally gathering at the African Union Commission for this event as usual, I encourage you to commemorate this day from wherever you are,'' Moussa Faki Mahamat, who chairs the commission, said in a statement.

''I would like to pay tribute to the leadership and the people of Rwanda for consistently working towards ‘Never Again’ and for emerging through resilience and unity from the terrible past and putting Rwanda on a development path that continues to inspire many countries on our continent and beyond,'' he added.

He said the commemoration is an opportunity to reflect and continue to fight genocide and “its ideology, denial, and impunity with a view to ensure that never again shall Africa experience such a heinous crime against humanity.''

Last week, the Rwandan government announced that the commemoration will take place but with limited events and participants due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

Between April and July 1994, the world stood still in awe as more than a million people were killed in a space of 100 days in Rwanda, Mahamat said.

He added that the ''we should not be oblivious to the fact that genocide is always well planned, deliberately executed with impunity, yet genocide is also always followed by denial.”

An estimated 1 million minority Tutsis and some Hutus were killed during 100 days of bloodshed orchestrated by extremist Hutus in 1994.

The assassination that April of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, triggered the genocide.

Hutu extremists who allegedly harbored hatred for Tutsis accused them of shooting Habyarimana’s plane as it came in to land at Kigali International Airport, triggering the mass slaughter.

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