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The Rwandan Genocide - Twenty-Five-Years Later

Yesterday, April 7, marked the 25th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide that killed close to 1,000,000 Rwandans in 100-days in 1994 during the deadly Rwandan civil war that eventually ended July 15, 1994.

Hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis were killed by extremists Hutus, who also slaughtered moderate Hutu politicians, jurists, journalists and civilians and in the process, pressured and encouraged Hutu civilians to murder minorities - Tutsis and Pygmies. 

In the genocidal reign of terror between April 7, 1994 and July 15, 1994, some 800,000 plus people were massacred in the aftermath of the assassination of Rwandan Hutu dictator president Juvenal Habyarimana, on April 6, 1994, when his plane was shot-down over his presidential palace also killing neighboring Burundi president Cyprien Ntaryamira, who was on board the aircraft with Habyarimana and other officials of the Rwandan government.

Habyarimana's assassination ended 1993-accords to curb fighting in the Rwandan civil war that started in 1990 between Rwandan government Hutu forces and the mostly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) militia, led by today's president Paul Kagame. 

The killing spree in Rwanda was brutal and savage utilizing machetes and a wide array of crude weapons as Hutus, sanctioned by government and the political elite, set upon other Rwandans. The killings finally stop as the RPF took control of the capital Kigali and most of the nation by mid-July, 1994. The genocide and civil war ended and  70% of the Tutsi population was killed along with 30% of the Pygmy Batwa people. Another 2,000,000 Rwandans, most Hutus, were displaced and became refugees with the changing of the balance of power within the east African country.

Today, some economic, social and political stability has returned to the 12-million population Rwanda under Paul Kagame, who has been president since 2000 having served as vice-president from 1994 until his official ascension to the presidency, in 2000, upon the resignation of president Pasteur Bizimungu.

Rwanda's genocide will stand as a major blight upon that nation and upon the international community for allowing that crime against humanity to take place. Belgium, France, the United States and others failed to act in the interest of averting the genocide. Could it happen again?