Macron asks Rwanda to forgive France over 1994 genocide role

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Rwandan refugee children plead with Zairean soldiers to allow them across a bridge separating Rwanda and Zaire. PHOTO/ COURTESY

KIGALI – French President Emmanuel Macron Thurday May 27 asked Rwandan citizens to forgive France over its involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide that saw about 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus dead

Speaking at the genocide memorial Kigali, Macron said France did not heed to warnings of possible war by choosing silence over examination of the truth.

The Fance President however maintained that his country did not support the killings.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame welcomed the apology as he said Macron’s words bore more value than the apology.

Kagame said the words were true and that the French President showed tremendous courage by apologising to the people of Rwanda.

In March, a French expert commission found that France under the late President François Mitterrand had borne “heavy and overwhelming responsibility” for the genocide but had not been complicit. 

The report said France looked the other other way as preparations to the genocide were carried out.

The genocide was triggered by the shooting down of a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira, a fellow Hutu on April 6, 1994.

On 22 June the UN authorised the deployment of French forces in south-west Rwanda, in what was called Operation Turquoise.

France was was however accused of sending help too late.

A Hutu elite ruled Rwanda when the genocide took place, in April-June 1994, but they were later ousted by the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) under Paul Kagame.


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