Remembering Rwanda – 20 years on

Sunday 6 April 2014 marks 20 years since the Rwandan genocide. In the space of 100 days an estimated 800,000 people were massacred, leaving more than 50,000 women widowed and tens of thousands of children orphaned.

On the 20th anniversary of the genocide, CAFOD is revisiting stories of people who have shared their experiences over the years, including CAFOD’s former Africa Programme officer Rob Rees:

CAFOD blog

by Rob Rees, Former Africa Programme Officer

Rob Rees, Former Africa Programme Officer, CAFODI first became involved in Rwanda in July 1994, some two or three months after the start of the horrific events in that landlocked country, the full scale of which had not, by that time, reached the wider world.

I was Programme Officer for CAFOD’s work in Tanzania and one of our main partners there, Caritas Tanzania, had alerted the international Caritas network of the huge influx of refugees who had crossed into Northwestern Tanzania.

At the time the media focus wasn’t on this neighbouring country, but inside Rwanda and what was then Zaire, as news reports tried to grapple with what was happening, reporting daily stories of horrific killings and survival against all the odds.

Tanzania during the Rwandan genocide

Northwestern Tanzania was a neglected and under-developed region at that time, with very poor infrastructure. There was no spare capacity to be…

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