The Rwandan Genocide
Slaughter, mass genocide, plan to wipeout the Tutsis, the most rapid and violent genocide ever recorded, all of this was an act of hatred and angry from the Hutus in Rwanda, and it all started on April 6, 1994. Before the genocide the Hutus weren’t treated as well as the Tutsis were, which created tension Worldwide mainly in the US. The CIA knew that this scene would soon escalate later on and a genocide would soon be upon the beautiful country of Rwanda. More than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus loyal to Tutsis were slaughtered in Rwanda, not only that, but the ones who survived the wrath of the Hutus fled the country, and so did 287,000 other Rwandans. Which caused a huge refugee crisis that became a problem for the other countries in the continent of Africa. The racial tension in Rwanda resulted in a genocide that spread through the country with shocking speed and brutality, and caused a refugee crisis that built tension all over Africa and many other places Worldwide.
It all started off between the years of 1894 and 1918, When Rwanda became part of The League of Nations, and order from Belgium after WW1, and so did Burundi, Rwanda’s neighbor (History.com “Rwandan Genocide”). During Rwanda’s colonial period under rule of the Belgians, who favored the Tutsis more than the Hutus, and the Hutus thought they should be treated better than the Tutsis because they are larger in numbers. Way before the Rwandan Genocide, the Hutus sparked up a revolution that took place in 1959, and caused the hundreds of thousands of Tutsis to flee the country. In 1961, the Hutus were victorious, and they made the Tutsis go into exile, and confirmed Rwanda as a Republic nation. Early July 1962, Rwanda had been declared its independence from the Belgians. In 1990, an army of Tutsi refugees invaded Rwanda, and there was a ceasefire that later turned into a negotiation between the gov’t and the Rwandese Patriotic Front(RPF) in 1992. This treaty was signed in 1993, and the Hutu extremists found out, and they were angered by this treaty that allowed power-sharing. They couldn’t just stand there and do nothing. Soon they would do horrible things that will spark a mass genocide.
Pffffzzz… it was a loud and scratchy broadcast on the radio, announcing that a plane with Habyarimana and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. The date was April 6, 1994 (Rwanda Genocide: 100 Days of Slaughter. BBC News). After a few hours of the crash the Rwandan armed forces(FAR) and Hutu militia built roadblocks such as burning cars and armored vehicles and began killing Tutsis, even the young. The Hutu militia was known as the Interahamwe (Those Who Attack Together) and the other group helping them, the Impuzamugambi (Those Who Have The Same Goal). The killing was endless with an estimate of over 800,000 Rwandans killed over the past a few months. Meanwhile, the RPF was fighting in a civil war while the genocide was still going on. In July the RPF gained control of the majority of the country and including the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Habyarimana’s NRMD (National Revolutionary Movement for Development) party, which mainly organized the genocide, was outlawed, and a new constitution established in 2003, which also eliminated ethnicity, and a new president was elected, Kagame, serving a 10-year term, and the first ever legislative election in Rwanda.
Out of know where a chaotic crisis came about, it was Rwanda’s first refugee crisis, that took place in 1959. Where about 550,000 Tutsi refugees fled Rwanda because the Hutus gained control by overthrowing the Tutsi monarchy and exiling the Tutsis. The second refugee crisis started in 1990, approximately 31 years after the first crisis. This one involved the Burundians fleeing to Northern Rwanda from Uganda, escaping the RPF incursions, and the assassination of their president, Melchior Ndadaye. The third refugee crisis, there were over 350,000 refugees, Tutsi, but mostly Hutu, that remained as a result of the fighting between the gov’t and the RPF. Hutu refugees from Burundi were adopted by their skills and were recruited to fight alongside the Interahamwe militia groups (Rwandan Refugee Crisis: Before the Genocide-Part 1). Months before the genocide the UN officials became concerned with the stability of the millions of refugees that have settled in Rwanda. This headline had become a political problem for the UN over the course of the genocide. The Rwandan gov’t stated that 3.4 million Rwandan refugees have returned to Rwanda after the genocide, and more than 5,000 have returned since recent years.
The United States knew that there were weapons crossing the borders and the CIA noticed the rebels growing military strength was creating tension in Rwanda that thousands of Rwandans may parish to the ethnic violence that is about to be released. Washington ignored Uganda’s request for help against the Rwandan rebels, and that caused the rebels military to ramp up and develop (America’s Secret Role in the Rwandan Genocide). In 1992 the US started watching the Ugandan weapons shipment and they noticed the Museveni wasn’t keeping his promise to the court martial RPF leaders. The United States expanded the aid to to his gov’t to double which gave access to almost half of Uganda’s budget. In 1991 Uganda has purchased 10 times more weapons from the US than the previous 40 years combined. A US ambassador witnessed the terrible things that were happening in Rwanda. He urged George HW Bush to establish sanctions on Uganda as he did in other countries before.
What happened that year, 1994, was very tragic, 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in their own homes and in front of their families. This genocide caused a great panic in Africa along the World, because anything like this can happen anywhere at any time and place. Other genocides aren’t as brutal or as gory as this one. It was a constant killing of the Tutsi and a constant battle between the Hutu extremists and the gov’t. The overall cause of the genocide was the tension that occurred way before Rwanda got its independence, when Belgium favored the Tutsis more than the Hutu and treated them like royalty when the Hutus clearly had the numbers. After all I think that the Belgians sparked the uprising of Hutu extremist and the Rwandan Genocide by excluding the Hutus and giving the Tutsis a little more attention.
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