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Rwanda ten years on (1)

Why did the west ignore Rwanda? One reason was the distraction of South Africa's first elections

By Richard Dowden   April 2004

A plane crash in Rwanda on 6th April 1994 led to the most rapid genocide in recorded history. The killing began that night and was almost over six weeks later. Some 800,000 people were murdered, mostly with spears, knives and machetes. Two weeks into the slaughter the US, supported by Britain, pushed the UN security council to reduce the peacekeeping force in Rwanda to just 270 men, despite the pleas of its commander, who insisted that a UN military presence could make a difference.

With hindsight it is obvious that the world’s political leaders and opinion-formers failed Rwanda in 1994.…

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