After All Was Lost

The Resilience of a Rwandan Family Orphaned on April 6, 1994 when the Rwandan President’s Plane was Shot Down


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When Major-General Déogratias Nsabimana, Chief of Staff of Rwanda’s Army, was assassinated after the invasion of the country, civil war and then genocide, his widow and their six children found ways to overcome the rupture of their family—and their country.  This is their story.

Major-General Nsabimana, nicknamed “Castar,” died when the Rwandan presidential plane was shot down on April 6, 1994. Casualties included the presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda became renowned because of one of the worst mass killings of the twentieth century combined with an unprecedented crisis in Central Africa.

Nsabimana was a fine military strategist, respected by his peers. He played a vital role during the war that followed the Rwandan Patriotic Army’s invasion on October 1, 1990. Patriotic and honest, he was a lead negotiator of the 1993 Arusha Peace Accords. He firmly believed in the process, convinced that only peace could allow Rwandans to live in harmony.

The highlights and life lessons that Alice Nsabimana and her brothers and sisters have chosen to share cast new light on the terrible tragedy that struck Rwanda and neighboring countries.

After All Was Lost is an outstretched hand bearing a message of love, peace, forgiveness, and resilience for victims of war or other disasters in the world.


Alice Nsabimana is a Belgian citizen of Rwandan origin. Raised in Rwanda until the age of 17, she was forced to flee to Belgium after her father was assassinated on April 6, 1994. She has specialized in Human Resources Management and Family, International, and Intercultural Mediation. After All Was Lost first appeared in French in 2022. Alice Nsabimana lives in Brussels.


Maurice Nsabimana holds degrees from Columbia University and Vesalius College in Brussels. He works as a statistician with an international organization and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.

Preface by

Johann Swinnen, Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda from 1990 to 1994.

Reviews and Praise

“A riveting story of loss, legacy—and yes, love. For days after finishing Alice Nsabimana’s chronicle of her family’s journey, I continued to reflect on the life lessons they all drew from it.” Susi Wyss, author of The Civilized World

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Full Colour Illustrations, Original notes by Deogratias Nsabimana