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Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 19:18 UK

Rwanda boat sinking mars genocide commemoration

Lake Kivu map

A boat in Rwanda carrying people to genocide commemorations has sunk.

Authorities told the BBC six people have died, at least 12 more are feared dead and 50 passengers were rescued.

The vessel capsized in strong winds on Lake Kivu - which lies on the Democratic Republic of Congo border - while on its way to the town of Kibuye.

Rwanda is holding a series of events on Wednesday to mark the 16th anniversary of the start of the genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed.

During the 100-day massacre, Hutu militias systematically killed the Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The genocide came to an end when Tutsi rebels led by now-President Paul Kagame took control.

'Hooligans'

"We were in the middle of the ceremonies when we were informed about the boat accident," the governor of Western Province, Celestin Kabahizi, told the BBC's Great Lakes Service.

Genocide memorial site guardian, Danielle Nyirabazungu (pictured in 2004)
Some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda's genocide in just 100 days

"In fact those who alerted us were part of the ceremonies but standing on the hillside. We immediately despatched a marine team and a rescue effort got under way," he said.

In the capital, Mr Kagame led the remembrance ceremonies by laying a wreath at Kigali's genocide memorial.

He also lit a torch which will burn for three months to mark the period of the killings.

Later in a speech, he reacted to accusations that the government has been attacking and intimating it critics in the run-up to August's presidential election.

"We know the value of freedom, we know the value of justice, we know the value of democracy," he said.

"Some people want to encourage political hooliganism.

"But it is an expression of contempt these people have for Rwandans and for Africans that they think Africans deserve to be led by these hooligans - and to that we say no, a big no," he said to applause in the stadium.



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