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African Union Marks 22nd Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide

The African Union (AU) on Thursday marked the 22nd anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide with an event held at its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Family photos of some of the victims of Rwandan Genocide.

According to the AU, the commemoration aims to awaken greater awareness of the African peoples and the international community about the value of life and humanity, and to renew collective commitment to protecting fundamental human rights.

The day was marked with activities including lighting of candles, remarks by officials of AU, Rwanda, and Ethiopia as well as prayers by religious leaders, poem recitation, musical drama and films.

In her remarks on the occasion, Aisha Abdullahi, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, underlined the need to keep the memory alive by fighting the genocide ideology.

Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, Rwandan Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to AU, said the day is commemorated every year to ensure that it never happens again in Rwanda or elsewhere in the world.

"Today, like every year, we are here to remember, every year, we remember the more than one million lives that we have lost in Rwanda. And we stand in solidarity with survivals and unite to ensure that it never happens again in Rwanda or elsewhere in the world," she said.

The genocide was sparked when a plane carrying the ex-Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana who was a Hutu, was shot down on April 6, 1994, killing all on board. Rwandan Hutus blamed ethnic Tutsis for the attack and sought immediate revenge.

Woman looking at the photos of some of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide victims.

Hutu extremists used machetes, clubs, blunt objects and other deadly weapons to rape, maim and kill their Tutsi neighbours. The genocide claimed the lives of almost one million Rwandans in an approximately 100-day period.

By Robert Muriisa.

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