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Emotions Run High as Rwanda Remembers Horrors of Genocide

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Two wailing and distraught Rwandan women, some of dozens overcome by grief at recalling the horror of the genocide, are carried away to receive help during a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda on April 7, 2014. Ben Curtis / AP

Sorrowful wails and uncontrollable sobs resounded Monday as thousands of Rwandans packed the country's main sports stadium to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of a devastating 100-day genocide.

President Paul Kagame and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon together lit a flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which estimates that 1,000,050 Rwandan perished in three months of machete and gunfire attacks mostly aimed at the country's minority Tutsi population by extremist Hutus.

Image: Rwanda Commemorates The Country's 1994 Genocide
A woman consoles Bizimana Emmanuel, 22, during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide at Amahoro Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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The skulls and bones of some of those who were slaughtered as they sought refuge inside the church, are laid out on shelves in an underground vault as a memorial to the thousands who were killed in and around the Catholic church during the 1994 genocide in Nyamata, Rwanda, on April 4, 2014. Ben Curtis / AP

"Twenty years ago today our country fell into deep ditches of darkness," said Rwanda's minister of foreign affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo. "Twenty years later, today, we are a country united and a nation elevated."

In the aftermath of the genocide, Rwandans felt alone, she said. But now friends around the world have joined "to commemorate the rebirth of our nation," she said.

Image: Rwanda Commemorates The Country's 1994 Genocide
Ushers carry a screaming and emotionally distraught woman out of Amahoro Stadium during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide on April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali, Rwanda on April 5, 2014. Ben Curtis / AP

— Associated Press