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Global Briefs: Reminders of genocide in Rwanda

More than 1,100 victims of 1994 violence found buried near a Catholic church

Clement di Roma/AFP via Getty Images

Global Briefs: Reminders of genocide in Rwanda
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Fact Box Sources: The World Factbook-CIA


Authorities and residents in the southern Gashonga village found over 1,100 bodies after exhuming a mass grave near a Catholic church. Residents found the first bodies in March while ­preparing the land for farming. Exhumations have continued since then. The victims sought refuge in the church 29 years ago, when militias from the ethnic Hutu majority targeted members of the Tutsi minority. As many as 800,000 ­people died in the 100-day genocide between April and July 1994. The grave in Gashonga is the largest uncovered since 2020. —Onize Ohikere

Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP


Residents of Brienz, a small village in the country’s southeast, had 48 hours to evacuate in the face of an imminent rockslide in early May. Geologists say 2 million cubic meters of rock could fall on the ­village in the heavy rains predicted over the next few weeks. Brienz is built on unstable land that is slowly sliding into the valley below. Rocks routinely fall from the huge mountain that looms over the town, but recently the pace of erosion has accelerated. The village cows joined 84 human residents for an indefinite ­evacuation, and authorities set up a webcam to monitor conditions in the now-empty town. —Jenny Lind Schmitt

Lee Ming-che

Lee Ming-che Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images


Former political prisoners claim they were forced to make gloves for Milwaukee Tool while imprisoned in central Hunan province. Human rights activist Lee Ming-che, jailed in 2017 and released last year, says he was forced to work about 13 hours a day, seven days a week, to stitch together 200 pairs of work gloves each day. Milwaukee Tool is based in Wisconsin but is owned by Hong Kong–based Techtronic Industries Company Limited. The company says it investigated the prisoners’ claims and found “no evidence” to support them. Two former prisoners claim a supplier for the company ­subcontracted work at the prison. —Leigh Jones


The country’s first government-owned airplane arrived at Funafuti International Airport on May 11. The 16-seater Twin Otter T2-TV8 plane will increase connectivity between the island of Funafuti, where half the country’s 12,000 residents live, and Tuvalu’s eight other coral and reef islands. The soil-poor Polynesian islands lie up to 420 miles apart, and islanders are increasingly dependent on imported food. Before the government bought its new plane, residents relied on seaplanes and a single government ship for transportation and supply delivery. Following maintenance in Fiji, the Air Tuvalu plane is due to be fully operational in October, when the government plans to have the other islands’ airstrips ready for landings. —Amy Lewis

South Africa

A diplomatic spat erupted in early May when the U.S. ambassador accused South Africa of providing weapons to Russia. Ambassador Reuben Brigety said U.S. intelligence indicated ammunition and arms were loaded into the Russian ship Lady R when it was docked at a Cape Town naval base in December, despite it being under international sanctions. Government officials denied the claims and decried what they called Brigety’s “megaphone diplomacy,” saying his remarks “undermine” U.S.–South Africa relations. But they promised to investigate. Brigety seemed to walk back the claims a few days later, saying he wanted to “correct any misimpressions” his remarks created. South Africa hosted joint naval exercises with Russia in February. —Jenny Lind Schmitt

Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters/Redux


Officials announced May 11 that the Mosul Museum, which has been closed to the public for 20 years, is entering the final stages of restoration and is set to reopen in 2026. The museum closed in 2003 due to instability during the War on Terror. Islamic State jihadists captured and ransacked it sometime in 2015. They used power tools and sledgehammers to destroy and deface the museum’s treasures, including ancient statues and artifacts from the pre-Islamic era. The museum’s renowned Assyrian gallery also has a gaping hole in the floor from a bomb explosion. The renovation team plans to leave part of the hole preserved to bear witness to the building’s turbulent history. —Elizabeth Russell


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