The day Idi Amin unlawfully landed at Kigali International Airport with military planes, prompting EX-FAR soldiers to flee

By Esther Muhozi
On 17 April 2024 at 12:35

Gen (Rtd) Fred Ibingira recently highlighted that Rwanda has enjoyed three decades of unrivaled stability, ensuring that citizens have their rights safeguarded. He juxtaposed this with a turbulent incident from the 1970s when Uganda’s President, Idi Amin, unlawfully landed military aircraft at Kigali International Airport, a historical event unknown to many Rwandan leaders.

Emphasizing the paramount importance of national security, he credited it as the cornerstone of Rwanda’s post-genocide accomplishments, achieved through the intervention of RPF Inkotanyi forces.

Over the past thirty years, Rwanda has transcended ethnic and regional tensions, fostering a society where no individual faces persecution based on identity. Educational curricula have been purged of divisive ideologies, and ethnic affiliations have been removed from identification documents.

Addressing a gathering comprising staff from various government agencies during the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsis, Gen (Rtd) Ibingira asserted Rwanda’s newfound stature on the global stage, stating, "For 30 years, Rwanda has stood as a nation of principles." He metaphorically illustrated the meticulousness of Rwanda’s governance by suggesting that even a rabbit crossing into the country one would require proper documentation to come collect it.

Reflecting on historical events, he recounted an incident in the 1970s when Burundians laid claim to Rwandan territory, highlighting Rwanda’s vulnerability at the time. Additionally, he recalled the audacious act of Idi Amin, who, during his presidency in Uganda, unauthorizedly landed military planes at Kigali Airport, causing widespread panic.

Noting a shift in diplomatic demeanor, Gen (Rtd) Ibingira remarked on Rwanda’s transformation from a nation with a somewhat volatile disposition and diplomatic humility to a strong fearless country , contrasting the past with the present.

Acknowledging the post-genocide reconstruction efforts, he shared the journey of healing and progress, emphasizing the restoration of the Rwandan society, both physically and emotionally.

Highlighting the remarkable socio-economic advancements from 1994 to 2024, he underscored Rwanda’s robust growth in various sectors, including infrastructure, education, trade, industry, and employment opportunities, culminating in a significant rise in per capita income and gross domestic product.

Gen (Rtd) Fred Ibingira said that Rwanda now has gained international respect that no one would dare come and collect a rabbit without asking permission.