Fifteen years ago today, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprian Niayamira was shot from the sky in Kigali, Rwanda. The assassination of Rwanda’s president was the rallying call which set in motion well-laid plans to target the country’s Tutsi minority and its sympathizers. Within hours of the crash, local militias began to carry out the most brutally efficient genocide in modern history. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in three months.
Click here to hear an archived radio report from April 7, 1994, in which U.N. force commander Lt. General Romeo Dallaire describes the scene in Kigali in the hours immediately following the president’s assassination.
From today through the end of April, events around the world will commemorate the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Check this space for details about upcoming commemoration events.
Photo of Kigali genocide memorial, courtesy of Creative Commons.