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International Day of UN Peacekeepers being marked in Bass River

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BASS RIVER, N.S. —

The contributions of peacekeepers will be recognized this month, when a ceremony is held at Veterans’ Memorial Park.

International Day of UN Peacekeepers will be marked May 26, with a motorcycle parade, from the health clinic in Bass River to the park, at 10:30 a.m., RCMP Pipes and Drums parading in at 10:45 and a service beginning at 11 a.m. The service will include the last post, reveille and the laying of wreaths.

“It’s the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda so we’re remembering that this year,” said Dr. Karen Ewing, an organizer of the event. “We hope to have the colours of the Rwandan flag on a wreath.

“To me, it comes back to what should be done. The park’s mandate is education, remembrance and peace. We want to do our best for remembrance of the past and peace for the future

This is a precarious time, with change all around us.”

In 1994, fighting in Rwanda resulted in the loss of about one-tenth of the population.

In April, a plane carrying the Rwandan president – a Hutu – was shot down, killing everyone on board.

Hutus blamed the Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), although they denied responsibility.

During the next 100 days, Over the next 100 days, about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists, led by the Rwandan army and a militia.

They went from house to house killing entire families and used radio broadcasts to incite hatred.

Neighbours killed neighbours and some Hutu men murdered their Tutsi wives. Sexual violence was used as a weapon, with up to 250,000 women and girls raped. People with AIDS were directed to rape Tutsi women.

In July 1994, the RPF, backed by the army, took control of Rwanda.

Ewing will do the opening for the service and MLA Karen Casey will handle the closing.

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