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Having laid thousands of landmines as a soldier and working for the UN to remove them he discovered he was quite adept at clearing landmines and UXOs, and decided to make it his trade.
Having no demining tools, he used a knife, a Leatherman, and a stick. He would defuse the landmines and UXOs he found in small villages and bring home the empty casings. Sometimes he would sell them as scrap to help fund his work.
On April 6, 1994, a 100-day run of terror and genocide took over the already divided nation of Rwanda. The two ethnic groups of Rwanda—the Hutus and the Tutsis—had long been at odds with one another, and despite some help from the United Nation to control the fighting, the Hutu extremists continued their battles with the Tutsis. When the United Nations’ peacekeepers began to be among those attacked, they withdrew most of their troops, leaving the battles to rage on. Soon the Tutsis had very few outsiders to help them survive; however one Rwandan—half Tutsi and half Hutu—stepped in. Paul Rusesabagina, the acting manager for the luxurious Hotel des Milles Collines, took in more than 1200 refugees into the hotel in effort to save them from the massacre. At the end of the 100 days, nearly a million people were murdered, most with machetes, but the refuges under Paul’s protection were unharmed.