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Genocide in Rwanda. The genocide began on April 6, 1994, and for the next hundred days, up to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia using clubs and machetes

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Genocide in Rwanda


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    1. Genocide in Rwanda

    2. The genocide began on April 6, 1994, and for the next hundred days, up to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia using clubs and machetes • It was sparked by death of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on April 6, 1994

    3. It is important to recognize that Rwanda is one of smallest countries in Central Africa, with just 7 million people • And that the nation is comprised of two main ethnic groups, Hutu and Tutsi • Although Hutus account for 90 percent of population; in the past, the Tutsi minority was considered the aristocracy of Rwanda and dominated the Hutu peasants

    4. Ironically, the ethnic groups are very similar; sharing the same language, similar traditions, etcetera • But the Tutsis are taller and thinner, with some saying origins lie in Ethiopia

    5. When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they produced identity cards • Identity cards classified people according to ethnicity • The Belgians also considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus and gave Tutsis better jobs and educational opportunities

    6. Resentment among Hutus built up, culminating in a series of riots in 1959

    7. Tutsi refugees in Uganda, supported by some moderate Hutus, formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)

    8. President Habyarimana exploited the ethnic tension between Hutus and Tutsis and accused Tutsis living in Rwanda of being collaborators for the Rwandan Patriotic Front • When Habyarimana’s plane was shot down at the beginning of April 1994, it was the final nail in the coffin • Ethnic tensions exploded

    9. In Kigali, presidential guard initiated a campaign of retribution • Leaders murdered and slaughtered Tutsis and moderate Hutus

    10. Since all individuals carried identification cards specifying ethnicity, a practice left over from colonial days, these ‘tribal cards’ now meant life or death

    11. Some Tutsis turned to the U.N. for protection • Ten United Nations peacekeeping soldiers from Belgium were captured by Hutus, tortured and murdered • The United States, France, Belgium, and Italy all began evacuating their own personnel from Rwanda

    12. No international effort was made to evacuate Tutsi civilians or Hutu moderates

    13. They were left to die

    14. At U.N. headquarters, the killings categorized as a breakdown in cease-fire between Tutsi and Hutu • Labeling genocide would have demanded action

    15. No international action was taken

    16. Encouraged by the presidential guard and radio propaganda, an unofficial militia group, the Interahamwe (meaning those who attack together), mobilized • In some cases, Hutu civilians were forced to murder their Tutsi neighbors • Participants were often given incentives, such as money or food, and some were even told they could appropriate the land of Tutsis killed

    17. The Hutu, without opposition from the world community, engaged in a genocidal mania; clubbing and hacking to death Tutsi families with machetes • Rwandan radio, controlled by Hutu extremists, encouraged the killings by broadcasting hate propaganda, and pinpointing locations of Tutsis in hiding

    18. Many Tutsis took refuge in churches and mission compounds • These became the scenes of some of the worst massacres

    19. Finally, in July, the RPF captured Kigali • The government collapsed and the RPF declared a ceasefire

    20. As soon as it became apparent that the RPF was victorious, an estimated two million Hutus fled to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) • Refugees included many who have since been implicated in the massacres • Rwanda’s now Tutsi-led government has twice invaded its twice much larger neighbor, saying it wants to wipe out the Hutu forces