facts history

Rwandan Genocide

When we look back at the history we can see some chapters where the humanity was nothing but gone. The chapters we cannot think about without having our hearts broken. Rwandan genocide is such an event where history got ugly.

Rwanda, a country located in the center of the African continent which was inhabited by two tribes called “Hutu” and “Tutsi” and the majority was Hutu. After the first world war the fate of the Rwanda was handed over to Belgium.

During the colonial period the Belgians favored the Tutsi over the Hutu which led a cultural tension inside the country. In 1959 a Hutu revolution led more than 300,000 Tutsi to flee the country. By the 1961 the Hutu was able to force Tutsi to exile and declared the country as a republic. In 1962 Belgium granted independence to Rwanda and after that ethnically motivated violence against the Tutsi was continued.

In 1973 Juvenal Habyarimana came to power as the second president in Rwanda. He founded a new political party called “National Revolutionary Movement for Development” or NRMD. He was elected as the president in 1983 and 1988 when he was the sole candidate.

In 1990 Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) consisting Rwandan Tutsi refugees based in Uganda Invaded Rwanda. The president Habyarimana accused the Tutsi residents in Rwanda as accomplices of RPF and arrested hundreds of Tutsi. Even the government officials massacred the Tutsi between 1990-1993. In 1993 Habyarimana signed an agreement calling to create a government including RPF.

On April 6 1994 the airplane which the president Habyarimana was flying, was shot down over Kigali, capital of Rwanda leaving no survivors.

Within an hour of the crash the presidential guard, Rwandan armed forces and Hutu militia groups setup roadblocks and started slaughtering Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The identity card issued in that included which tribe they belonged to which made it easier for Hutu extremists to identify Tutsi.

Among the first victims there were 10 Belgian peacekeepers which provoked the withdrawal of Belgian troops. Even the UN directed that peacekeepers should protect themselves. These actions kept the war between two tribes undisturbed by an outer force.

The mass killings quickly spread from Kigali to the rest of the country. Neighbors killed neighbors, husbands killed their Tutsi wives because if they wouldn’t they would be killed by the government. Even priests and nuns were convicted of killing the Tutsi refugees who sought shelter in churches. The Hutu extremists set up a radio station and a newspapers which circulated the hate propaganda urging people to kill Tutsi.

The genocide lasted for about 100 days and about 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed and about 250,000-5000,000 women were raped.

Along with the genocide the RPF resumed the Rwandan civil war and in July 1994 the well organized RPF forces backed up by Uganda managed to gain control over Kigali.

In response about 2 million Hutu both civilians and some involved in genocide fled Rwanda to Zaire (present Democratic Republic of Congo) fearing revenge attacks. Researches say about 200,000 Hutu were killed after the RPF’s victory in 1994.

The Tutsi claims that the plane which president Habyarimana was carrying was shot down by the Hutu in order to start the genocide. Some believes that the genocide was planned over a year ago.

Skulls at the Nyamata genocide memorial

I, Inisheer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

References: Rwandan Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda Genocide: 100 days of slaughter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s