Rwanda commemorated 25 years since the brutal massacre of over 800, 000 Tutsis by ethnic Hutu extremists in 1994.
President Paul Kagame, who led the rebel force that ended the genocide, lit the flame of remembrance, assisted by a generation of 25 years at the Kigali memorial on Sunday.
The flame will burn for 100 days, during which the country will also mourn, signifying the number of days it took to carry out the killings.
The commemoration activities began with the lighting of the flame at the memorial, where about 250,000 victims are said to be buried.
The 61-year-old, who has led the country since the end of the genocide, delivered a speech at the Kigali Convention Centre.
He said the resilience and bravery of the genocide survivors represented the “Rwandan character in its purest form”.
Kagame will also lead a vigil at the Amahoro National Stadium, which was used by United Nations officials to protect Tutsis during the incident.
A number of world leaders, including Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, were in attendance.
Belgium Prime Minister, Charles Michel, will represent his country as former colonial ruler.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, who was meant to attend will not be there. He had rather appointed a panel of experts to investigate France’s role in the genocide.
His country was a close ally of the Hutu-led government prior to the massacres. The country has been accused of ignoring warning signs, and alleged to have trained the militias who carried out the attacks.