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Vol 45 No 6

Published 19th March 2004


Who fired the missiles?

Kigali rejects French claims that its fighters shot down President Habyarimana's plane

Diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali have sunk to their lowest level for a decade in a new row over Rwanda's genocide. On 16 March, President Paul Kagame accused France of direct involvement in the mass slaughter by providing training and weapons to the killers. A week earlier, the Paris daily Le Monde had suggested that Kagame and his Front Patriotique Rwandais were involved in shooting down Rwanda's late President Juvénal Habyarimana and his Burundian opposite number, Cyprien Ntaryamira. The downing of Habyarimana's Falcon-50 executive jet on 6 April 1994 triggered the massacres that killed more than 800,000 Rwandans in 100 days. To mark the tenth anniversary of that murder and what followed, General Kagame made an official visit to Belgium last week. It was awkward but most diplomats remain agnostic on the controversy.

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