KIGALI, RWANDA – Rwanda is somberly commemorated the start, 25 years ago, of its genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed, as the country continues to grapple with the lasting consequences of the mass killings
President Paul Kagame and first lady Jeannette Kagame laid wreaths and lit the flame at the mass burial ground of 250,000 victims at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali.
Those attending ceremonies included the leaders of Chad, Congo, Brazzaville, Djibouti, Niger, Belgium, Canada, Etiopia, as well as the African Union and the European Union.
"I am moved beyond the words of this memorial to the tragedy," said Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission.
There will be a procession through the capital to the Kigali National Stadium where there are many as 30,000 expected to take part in the evening candlelit ceremony.
"Twenty-five years ago, Rwanda fell "Today, we are a country of hope and a nation raised," said Agnes Mutamba, 25, a teacher who was born in the genocide, told The Associated Press in Kigali.
"Today, the Oliver Nduhungihere, Rwanda's state foreign affairs minister.
The mass murder of the Ruanda's Tutsi minority was ignited on April 6, 1994, when the government has united all Rwandans as one people with the same culture and history and is accelerating economic transformation. when a plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down and crashed in Kigali, killing the leader who, like most of the Rwandans, was ethnic Hutu
The Tutsi minority was blamed for downing the plane and the Hutu extremists band began Slaughtering the Tutsi, with the support of the army, police, and militia
Kagame's government has previously accused the Hutu-led government of 1994 of being responsible for shooting down the plane and has blamed the French government
On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a government study of the country's role in Rwanda before and during its 1994 genocide. Macron ordered a commission of researchers and historians to investigate the "role and involvement of France" in Rwanda from 1990-1994.
Kagame has won the praise of ending that of violence and making progress in economic development and healthcare, although he is criticized for authoritarian control.
Ethnic reconciliation is a cornerstone of the rule of Kagame , Rwanda's de facto leader since the genocide ended in 1994 and the country's president since 2000. He is credited with bringing Rwanda's stability, economic growth and improved health and education.
However, Kagame's critics charge that he is intolerant of criticism and his government is repressive, jailing opposition leaders. Some opponents say Rwanda's reconciliation is forced.
A quarter-century after the genocide, bodies of victims are still being found. "In twenty-five years, the victims and survivors should remain the center of everyone's thoughts, but we should also take stock of progress and the need to ensure accountability for all those who directed these horrific acts, "Human Rights Watch said.