Bush tours Rwanda genocide memorial on Africa trip

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 15:55 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - US President George W Bush on Tuesday visited a haunting memorial of the 800,000 victims of Rwanda's 1994 genocide, which the world is accused of ignoring, saying the experience marked him.

Hundreds of thousands of victims of the 100 days of ethnic bloodlust are buried at the memorial which is also a museum of the mass killings that saw ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus slaughtered by Hutus.

"The museum had a profound affect on me. You can't help but walk in there and recognize that evil does exist," Bush told reporters in the capital, Kigali

The US, among other members of the international community, is chided for not doing enough to stop the Rwandan genocide and has received similar accusations for its sluggishness in ending the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

The United Nations is set to beef up an African Union force already on the ground in Sudan's embattled province to increase its size to 26,000 in a bid to protect Darfur's people suffering from attacks by government forces, which Washington calls genocide.

"In a situation such as that you don't want to send people in as observers, you want to send people in who will help deal with the situation. That's why the mandate in Darfur is important. We are pleased with the mandate in Darfur," he said.

Bush also commented on the resignation of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, calling it the beginning of a "democratic transition" on the communist island.

Bush arrived to Kigali Tuesday morning greeted by Rwandan President and former rebel leader Paul Kagame, whose forces are credited with bringing an end to the genocide.

Rwanda was the third stop on Bush's six-day Africa trip, the focus of which is fighting poverty, HIV/AIDS and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and has been charged with avoiding the continent's hot spots, like Sudan, Congo and Kenya, which is stuck in a political crisis.

Bush began the second African trip of his presidency in Benin and Tanzania. On Tuesday, he is to travel on to Ghana before ending his trip Thursday in Liberia.