Kigali, 6 April, 2009 (FH) - Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Tuesday will lead his fellow countrymen, to commemorate week-long 15th anniversary of Rwandan genocide to be held at national level in Nyanza-Kicukiro, Kigali Ville province.

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A program issued by the Rwandan National Commission for Fight against Genocide (NCFAG), said that President Kagame, among others, will light a candle in memory those who perished during the 1994 genocide, which claimed according to the UN, lives of about 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The President will be accompanied in the candle-lighting ceremony by a 15-year old Alice Ishimwi, whose parents were killed during the April-July slaughter, one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of the 21st century.

The site of this year's commemoration is also historic. During onslaught of the 1994 killings, thousands of refugees sought shelter at the United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNAMIR) at the Technical School (ETO) near Nyanza-Kicukiro, hoping to get protection from the blue helmets but to their dismay the peace keepers abandoned them and were subsequently killed by notorious Interehamwe militias and rampaging soldiers from the former Rwandan Armed forces (Ex-FAR).

Members of diplomatic corps, government officials and invited guests will also witness decent re-burial of genocide victims and lying of wreath. During the occasion some testimonies of survivors and witnesses of ETO Kicukiro killings will be heard.

As part of commemoration, several activities linked to the event have been going on since last week-end, including a launch of world-wide ‘'One Dollar Campaign'' for the orphans of genocide, by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rose Mary Museminari.

Some $ 52,600, including cash and pledges, have so far been collected from local and international well wishers. The "One Dollar" campaign has been engineered by Rwandans living in Diaspora.

The proceeds will go to build a hostel for children who survived the genocide. The fund-raising campaign will last for 100 days.

The Executive Secretary of Genocide Survivors Association (IBUKA), Bonoit Kaboyi, whose office is located at Nyanza-Kicukiro, said there was some light at the end of the tunnel, 15 years after genocide.

‘'There is now more harmony, good co-habitation and reconciliation among Rwandans,'' Kaboyi told Hirondelle.

He said the fact that suspects confessed publicly and asked for forgiveness during gacaca (traditional courts) proceedings has helped to reconcile the perpetrators and survivors, some of whom could not speak to each other previously.

The genocide followed the shooting down of the plane carrying the then Rwanda President Juvenal Habyarimana, by unknown assailants on 6 April, 1994,  as it was approaching Kigali airport, killing on board, including President of Burundi, Cyprian Ntaryamira.

Both Presidents were returning from a regional peace meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


© Hirondelle News Agency