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April 7, 2014

The Rwandan Genocide: 20 years later

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where at least 800,000 people - mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus - died at the hands of Hutu extremists. As survivors of the genocide recounted their memories of the killings and of survival, several people were overcome with grief, screaming and crying uncontrollably with medical staff helping to carry them out and to provide counseling. Official mourning, which began three months ago with a flame of remembrance touring towns and villages across the nation, culminated Monday with the arrival of the torch at the national genocide memorial. --Thea Breite (16 photos total)

Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by an unidentified woman while attending the public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday, April 7, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP)

The sky threatens rain as tens of thousands of people gather to commemorate the 20th anniversary the 1994 genocide at Amahoro Stadium April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Rwandans joined with leaders from around the world at the stadium to remember the country's 1994 genocide. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

An emotionally distraught woman is carried out of Amahoro Stadium during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide on April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

Dignitaries prepare to lay memorial wreaths on stone-topped vaults containing the remains of around 250,000 victims of the genocide. (Ben Curtis/AP) #

A wailing and distraught Rwandan woman, one of dozens overcome by grief at recalling the horror of the genocide, is carried away to receive help during a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday, April 7, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP) #

Performers re-enact some of the events enter a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, April 7, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP) #

Performers re-enact the events at a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, April 7, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP) #

A woman is helped out of the Amahoro stadium, in Kigali, on April 7,2014. Rwandan President Paul Kagame took a thinly veiled swipe at France on April 7, saying it was impossible to "change the facts" about the genocide 20 years ago. Reminders of festering anger have marked the anniversary with a major diplomatic row breaking out over renewed allegations of French complicity in the genocide. Paris had cancelled a ministerial visit in response to renewed accusations by Kagame, and on April 7 the French ambassador was in turn barred from attending commemoration ceremonies. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images) #

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, left, and Alice Mukarurinda, recount their experiences of the Rwandan genocide at Alice's house in Nyamata, Rwanda Wednesday, March 26, 2014. She lost her baby daughter and her right hand to a manic killing spree. He wielded the machete that took both. Yet today, despite coming from opposite sides of an unspeakable shared past, Alice Mukarurinda and Emmanuel Ndayisaba are friends. She is the treasurer and he the vice president of a group that builds simple brick houses for genocide survivors. They live near each other and shop at the same market. Their story of ethnic violence, extreme guilt and, to some degree, reconciliation is the story of Rwanda today. The Rwandan government is still accused by human rights groups of holding an iron grip on power, stifling dissent and killing political opponents. But even critics give President Paul Kagame credit for leading the country toward a peace that seemed all but impossible two decades ago. (Ben Curtis/AP) #

Mudahogora Ernestine, 34, poses for photographs outside her home in the suburbs of the Rwandan capital Kigali April 3, 2014. Ernestine is the sole survivor in her family of seven in the 1994 genocide that left her with visible injuries on her neck, hands and other parts of her body. The three-month killing spree in 1994 by Hutu extremists followed the fatal downing of a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana. (Noor Khamis/Reuters) #

The clothes of victims killed during the Rwandan genocide are laid out on benches in the Nyamata Church in Nyamata, Rwanda. Nyamata and the surrounding area suffered some of the worst violence during the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, with thousands of people killed in and around the church, which now stands as a memorial to the genocide. A survey showed that 26 percent of the Rwandan population suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, yet the country lacks the adequate mental health facilities needed to address this issue. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mukarurinda Alise, 43, lost all her family members during mass killings in the 1994 genocide, but says she is now living with the man who hacked her wrist off. Alise forgave the man who she says went to the same school as her, after he came back and begged for forgiveness after serving time in jail for his crimes during a three-month killing spree in 1994 They are now married and living in Nyamata. (Noor Khamis/Reuters) #

Skulls and bones of victims killed during the Rwandan genocide are laid out in the Nyamata Church in Nyamata, Rwanda. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images) #

People worship during a Sunday service at the Chapel Mbyo on the eve of the anniversary of the 1994 genocide April 6, 2014 in Mybo, Rwanda. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

Men line up before marching to commemorate the genocide of 1994 at the Kicukiro College of Technology football pitch April 5, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. On April 11, 1994, Belgian paratroopers, who were part of the UNAMIR mission, were ordered to leave the school grounds, abandoning the people to the national police and Interahamwe militia, who lead their victims to a garbage dump and slaughtered them. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

Rwandan children listen and pray during a Sunday morning service at the Saint-Famille Catholic church, the scene of many killings during the 1994 genocide, in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP) #