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Woman forgives, befriends her child's murderer

NYAMATA, Rwanda -- She lost her baby daughter and her right hand to a manic killing spree. He wielded the machete that took both.

Yet today, despite coming from opposite sides of an unspeakable shared past, Alice Mukarurinda and Emmanuel Ndayisaba are friends. She is the treasurer and he the vice president of a group that builds simple brick houses for genocide survivors. They live near each other and shop at the same market.

Their story of ethnic violence, extreme guilt and, to some degree, reconciliation is the story of Rwanda today, 20 years after its Hutu majority killed more than 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Rwandan government is still accused by human rights groups of holding an iron grip on power, stifling dissent and killing political opponents. But even critics give President Paul Kagame credit for leading the country toward a peace that seemed all but impossible two decades ago.

“Whenever I look at my arm I remember what happened,” said Alice, a mother of five with a deep scar on her left temple where Emanuel sliced her with a machete. As she speaks, Emmanuel — the man who killed her baby — sits close enough that his left hand and her right stump sometimes touch.

On Monday, Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of 100 days of bloody mayhem. But the genocide was really in the making for decades, fueled by hate speech, discrimination, propaganda and the training of death squads. Hutus had come to resent Tutsis for their greater wealth and what they saw as oppressive rule.

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in mainland Africa, slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Maryland but with a

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 Rwanda mourns the dead, 20 yrs. since genocide 
In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 26, Emmanuel Ndayisaba, right, who during the 1994 Rwandan genocide cut off with a machete the hand of Alice Mukarurinda, left, in the swamp where she was hiding and killed her baby girl, but who are now friends, pose for a photograph at Alice's house in Nyamata, Rwanda.(AP)

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