Christian leaders in Africa mark 30 years since Rwandan genocide

Commemoration of Rwanda genocide Credit Elisa Finocchiaro via Flickr CC BY NC 20 CNA Credit: Elisa Finocchiaro via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Members of the Africa Christian Professionals Forum (ACPF) have expressed their solidarity with the people of Rwanda as the landlocked central African country marks 30 years since the Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were murdered.

“The Africa Christian Professionals Forum (ACPF), dedicated to promoting and protecting the sanctity of Life, Family Values, and good governance, extends its solidarity to Rwanda as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the genocide,” officials of the organization said in their Sunday, April 7, statement.

ACPF members join “Rwanda’s government, her citizens, African Union member states, and the global community in remembering the tragic loss of innocent lives,” the statement continued.

Recalling the events of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which lasted approximately 100 days, ACPF officials said: “Thirty years ago, humanity witnessed unspeakable violence, resulting in countless innocent deaths.”

“Today, we pause to reflect on the immense suffering endured by victims and their families, offering our deepest condolences to all affected,” they added.

​​The ACPF said the 30th anniversary of the genocide needs to inspire humanity to commit to seeking lasting peace.

“As we mark this solemn anniversary, let us recommit to creating a world where such atrocities never recur,” they said. “May the memories of the victims inspire us to tirelessly pursue peace, tolerance, and understanding.”

ACPF officials also called on the international community “to reaffirm its commitment to preventing genocide and mass atrocities, promoting justice, human rights, and dignity for all.”

In the April 7 statement, the Christian leaders in Africa said they “commend Rwanda’s resilience and determination in rebuilding, fostering unity, and reconciliation, offering hope to all.”

The 1994 Rwandan genocide was reportedly triggered by the deaths on April 6, 1994, of the country’s president, Juvenal Habyarimana, alongside his counterpart in Burundi, President Cyprien Ntaryamira. The two presidents, both Hutu, were returning from peace talks between the Hutu and the Tutsi when their plane was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, killing everyone on board.

In May 2023, Pope Francis dismissed from clerical duties a Rwandan Catholic priest considered to be a mastermind in the genocide. 

Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who was serving in France’s Diocese of Evreux, was accused of playing an active role in the genocide in different parts of Kigali while he was pastor of Holy Family Parish in the Archdiocese of Kigali.

In November 2006, a military tribunal in Rwanda found Munyeshyaka guilty of rape and involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment, KTpress reported.

This article was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by CNA.

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