The United Nations has named April 7 as the day of remembrance of the victims of the Rwanda genocide that left thousands dead.
The day commemorates the death of more than eight hundred thousand people who were murdered during the nineteen ninety four genocide in Rwanda Central Africa.
The year 1990 was a landmark in the history of Rwanda as rebels of the Tutsi-dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front invaded northern Rwanda from neighbouring Uganda.
The RPF’s success prompted President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, to speed up political reforms to legalise opposition parties.
The following year, Rwanda and the RPF signed a deal to end years of civil war, allowing for power-sharing and refugees’ return. But President Habyarimana was slow in implementing it. A transitional government failed to take off.
Each side accused the other of blocking its formation.
Presient Habyarimana and neighbouring Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira were killed in a rocket attack on their plane almost a year later in April six, 1994.
More killings were witnessed as Presidential guards killed moderate Hutu Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiwimana who had tried to calm tensions on April seven, 1994.
Habyarimana’s death triggered a hundred day orgy of violence, perpetrated mainly by Hutus against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. About eight hundred thousand people are killed.
The RPF rode on the back of lawlessness to seize control of Rwanda after driving the forty thousand strong Hutu army and more than two million civilian Hutus into exile in Burundi, Tanzania and the former Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo.
July 1994 ushered in a new government with Pasteur Bizimungu sworn in as president , and RPF commander Paul Kagame as vice-president.
Rwanda’s first genocide trial opened under the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in December 1996 – .
At the twentieth anniversary of the genocide, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apologised to Kigali for not being able to stop the genocide with thousands of troops that the organisation had in the country.
Three years later precisely March 20, 2017 Pope Francis apologised to Kagame for the role the “sins and failings of the Church” during the genocide
Most of the churches where the killings occurred are turned into memorial sites by Kagame’s regime. Some of the bones found in churches are collected and some are buried.