Ethnic Conflicts-  Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda
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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda. Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda.

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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda

  • Once, Hutus and Tutsis lived in harmony in Central Africa. About 600 years ago, Tutsis, (warrior clans), moved south from Ethiopia and invaded the homeland of the Hutus. Though much smaller in number, they conquered the Hutus, who agreed to raise crops for them in return for protection.

  • The two groups lived as one, speaking the same language, intermarrying, and obeying a nearly godlike Tutsi king.


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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda

  • Independence changed everything. Tutsis and Hutus fought to rule the country. Two new countries emerged in 1962 –

    • Rwanda, dominated by the Hutus

    • Burundi by the Tutsis

    • Ethnic fighting flared on and off in the following decades.


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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda

  • In 1994, ethnic fighting in Rwanda led to the massacre of at least half a million Tutsis and sent more than a million Hutus fleeing to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi.

  • For two years Hutu militants, fearful of reprisals for the massacres, kept the refugees in exile. In October and November 1996, it became a crisis, as the civil war in Zaire, sparked by Hutu-Tutsi fighting, cut off more than half a million Hutu refugees from food and medical supplies.


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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda

  • Tanzanian troops headed the refugees off and ordered them back. At the end of 1996, an estimated 300,000 refugees were returning home. There were some reports of brief fighting, and of soldiers firing in the air and using tear gas, but for the most part the exodus seemed to be peaceful.


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Ethnic Conflicts- Tutsis and Hutu Conflict in Rwanda

  • Like Rwanda, the modern history of Burundi is marked by constant strife between Hutus and Tutsis. Hutus make up 85 percent and Tutsis 14 percent, but Tutsis had ruled until the country's first democratic election in 1993, won by a Hutu.

  • The election did not stop the civil war, and since then more than 150,000 people have been killed. On July 20, 300 people, mostly Tutsi women and children, were massacred, allegedly by Hutu gunmen


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