Brutal assassination of presidents whose plane was shot down with missiles

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Major political figures seem to put their life on the line whenever they step out of their front door – with some having even been killed while the world is watching.

Perhaps most famously, the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was shot dead while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas.

Meanwhile in the UK we have also seen a Prime Minister assassinated, as Spencer Perceval was killed on his way to attend the inquiry into the Orders in Council in 1812.

However, they were killed on the ground, whereas the Rwandan president and the Burundian president were flying when they met their demise.

On April 6, 1994, the aircraft carrying Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down by surface-to-air missiles as they prepared to land in Kigali, Rwanda.

All 12 people on board were killed.

The assassination set in motion the elimination of Rwanda’s leaders and triggered the Rwandan genocide which is said to be "one of the bloodiest events of the late 20th century."

The majority of the casualties were from the Tutsi minority ethnic group that resided in Rwanda, with an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 people slaughtered in a 100-day period between April and July 1994.

They were carried out by Hutu ethnic extremists who wanted to eradicate all political opponents, whatever their ethnic origin.

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It is unknown who was responsible for the assassination itself but most theories point to the Tutsi rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

However, the RPF blamed the Hutu – claiming that they would use the deaths to justify mass slaughter.

In 2010, an investigation by the Rwandan government blamed Hutu extremists in the Rwandan army.

Several investigations were conducted by different countries, but all pursuits of prosecutions ended in 2020 due to "insufficient evidence."

  • Missiles

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