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The Rwandan Genocide: War Between Communities

The Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide

The Rwandan Genocide, which began in 1994 and lasted barely 100 days, is among the worst modern genocides. From April to July 1994, over 1,000,000 pure Tutsi citizens and mild Hutu were slaughtered as the rest of the world and UN forces looked on. Belgian colonization was responsible for the Rwandan Genocide. Although the Tutsi community has historically reined Rwanda, Hutus comprise around 4/5th of the population.

The Hutus deposed the Tutsi monarchy in 1959, and many Tutsis migrated to bordering countries, particularly Uganda. Extremist factions of Rwanda’s overwhelming Hutu population aimed to massacre the Tutsi people and anybody who resisted their extermination objectives.

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The Rwandan Patriotic Front, AKA the RPF, an insurgent group mostly composed of Tutsi refugees, assaulted north Rwanda in 1990 from their base in Uganda, sparking the start of the Rwandan Civil War. Over the following three years, each team failed to establish a distinct advantage. On the fourth of August, 1993, the Arusha Accords had been negotiated between the rebel teams and, therefore, the Rwandan government, commanded by a Bantu head of state named Juvenal Habyarimana.

The assassination of Habyarimana by shooting on the sixth of April, 1994, created a leadership vacuum and effectively over peace efforts. The death of distinguished Hutu and Watusi opponents ensuing day by the army, police, and paramilitary from the ruling Hutu tribe since the commencement of the Genocide. This war between communities led to the films Hotel Rwanda in 2004 and Shook Hands with the Devil in 2007. 

The Merciless Massacre

Upon hearing that they would be slaughtered if they refused, several Hutu men murdered their Tutsi spouses. The Batwa were also attacked. Neighbors slaughtered the neighborhood. Since people’s ethnicity was included on their identification cards, militias set up checkpoints and killed Tutsis, frequently using machetes that most Rwandans carried from around the house.

Those of the Tutsi that were alive were kidnapped and forced to work as sex slaves. Rwanda’s government was highly controlled since it was a multilayered organization, with each division regulated. The Interahamwe, a youth wing of the erstwhile ruling MRND, was formed into a battalion to carry out the killing. Hutu extremists founded RTLM, a radio station, and journal that distributed hate speech and pushed readers to slaughter Tutsis.

The Rwandan people fleeing

The Rwandan people fled.

The names of prominent people who were to be killed were spoken aloud on the radio. Sisters and clergymen have also been found guilty of killing people who sought safety in their churches. Victims were slaughtered with hatchets and firearms by the militia. On the ninth of April, infants in a Polish church in Gikondo were murdered in front of UN monitors.

Numerous women were raped during the holocaust, with estimates ranging from 250,000 to 500,000. When the Genocide began, the Rebels rapidly restarted the civil war and conquered all state regions. Until its soldiers marched into Kigali on the 4th of July 1994, the well-organized RPF, supported by the Ugandan army, progressively took over more areas, ending the Genocide and pushing the state and the extremists into Zaire.

Also Read: The Burari Deaths: The Family That Hung For Ritual

The Critical Aftermath

The RPF regime’s warlordism in Zaire caused the First Congo War, which lasted from 1996 to 1997, and the Second Congo War, which lasted from 1998 to 2003. Five million had been slaughtered by then. Surrogate army conflicts between the Rwandan government and its opponents in the DRC have occurred in the Goma area, most notably the M23 rebellion in 2012 and 2013. Many Tutsis and Hutu people from Rwanda linger in the country as immigrants.

Fearing RPF retaliation for the Rwandan Genocide, 2 million Hutu that was involved in the massacre fled to UN High Commissioner for Refugees-run camps in bordering countries, mainly Zaire. These were governed by the previous Hutu dictatorship, which wanted to seize back authority. The camps were overcrowded and filthy, and thousands of migrants died from disease outbreaks like as cholera and diarrhea.

Current President Paul Kagame

Current President Paul Kagame

Years of healing and reconciliation were ahead for the nation after the Genocide. A key focus was prosecuting people suspected of genocidal atrocities, encouraging national unity, and restoring the country’s infrastructure. To bring charges against the conspirators, the UN Security Council erected the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha for Rwanda’s needs.

Numerous prominent members of the previous administration were found guilty of Genocide following protracted and expensive trials that resulted in the indictment of 93 persons; they were all Hutus. According to reporters, ten thousand individuals may have passed away in prison before being prosecuted. Currently, President Paul Kagame, who had won the heart of Rwanda, serves peacefully.

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Written By

I am an undergraduate in English Literature from Andhra Pradesh. I indulge in all things creative. I read manga and watch anime but I still love my period dramas. I'm also a video game enthusiast, always trying out something new.

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