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Rwanda on Tuesday began commemorations marking 20 years since its genocide. The commemorations began with lighting a flame of remembrance due to make a nationwide tour ahead of the anniversary of the horrific events of 1994.

“The flame will be carried by young people,” Freddy Mutanguha, country director for Aegis Trust, one of the organisations helping to prepare the lighting ceremony, told AFP.

The flame will for three months be carried from place to place by vehicle and then paraded on foot through each town or village, he added.

Rwanda Genocide

Beginning this month, memorial activities will start at the grassroots and national levels, leading up to April 7 when the national mourning period will begin, on the date the slaughter began two decades ago.

An estimated 800,000 people, essentially from the Tutsi minority, lost life in the genocide, carried out by Hutu extremist militias and troops in the three months from April to June 1994.

Most of the masterminds of the genocide have been tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda set up in Arusha, Tanzania, with the backing of the United Nations.