Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Rwanda: the day the plane was shot down

Ten years ago today, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi's President Cyprian Ntayamira was shot out of the sky.

This event marked the start of the Rwandan genocide ... and worsened the civil war in neighbouring Burundi.

Though the genocide started soon after the plane's downing, April 7 is the official anniversary.

In December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution designating April 7, 2004 as the "International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda".

UPDATE: Here is an explanation I haven't seen before.
But Tutsis, who now dominate the nation's government and army, say the slaughter began on April 7 in part because they don't want the date to coincide with the shooting down of Habyarimana's plane - a date with political meaning for radical Hutus.