Saturday 3 December 2016

Twenty years on from Rwanda, what did we learn?

Eamonn Meehan

Published 07/04/2014 | 02:30

Rwandan children listen and pray during a Sunday morning service at the Saint-Famille Catholic church, the scene of many killings during the 1994 genocide, in the capital Kigali. Picture: Ben Curtis
Rwandan children listen and pray during a Sunday morning service at the Saint-Famille Catholic church, the scene of many killings during the 1994 genocide, in the capital Kigali. Picture: Ben Curtis

Twenty years ago, I witnessed one of the fastest migrations in human history, as a seemingly endless stream of Rwandans abandoned their homes to become refugees.

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They were fleeing a country in chaos. Hutu extremists were continuing to massacre members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group, while the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a force largely comprised of Tutsi, were advancing from the north in response to the slaughter.

Militia roadblocks hunted for Tutsi. Travelling with us were up to 20 Tutsi and it was only through skillful negotiation by a Bosnian priest, Fr Vjeko Curic, OFM, that we managed to successfully cross the border to Burundi unharmed.

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