Genocide in Rwanda
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In 1994, the encouragement of the presidential guard and radio propaganda influenced the Interhawame, an unofficial militia, to begin the mass killing of the Tutsis, the minority group in Rwanda. Between April and June, in a span of just one hundred days, a nearly 800,000 Rwandan’s were slaughtered, most of which were Tutsi. (BBC News) This event became known as the Rwandan Genocide, Africa’s largest genocide in modern day. Had it not been for the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), it is unknown how long this genocide would have taken place. The RPF caused the Rwandan government to collapse and declared a ceasefire. The events that played out between the months of April and June of 1994 would change Rwanda forever.
Tension between the majority Hutus and the minority Tutsis had existed since the colonial period, and worsened in the year 1959, when the Hutus overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. This had all happened 3 years prior to Rwanda’s independence from Belgium. Over the course of the next few years thousands of Tutsi’s were killed by the Hutu. An estimated 150,000 fled to surrounding countries. The next generation of these Tutsi’s who fled formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel group. The RPF had been the cause of a civil war in 1990; this made conflict between the two ethnic groups even worse. Which led up to the Hutus causing the Rwanda Genocide. (CIA Fact Book)
The President of Rwanda in 1994 was Juvenal Habyarimana was the stem of the violence that led to the Rwanda genocide. Because of a worsening economy, Habyarimana began losing popularity amongst the people of Rwanda. In order to get Hutus back on his side, he decided to tell them that the Tutsis inside Rwanda are working together to strengthen the RPF. This was the cause of numerous attacks on the Tutsis. The RPF invaded Rwanda and forced Habyarimana to sign an agreement that authorized that the Hutus and Tutsis share power. Things were getting a little bit better, until Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down. To this day it is still unknown who shot the Presidents plane down by a ground fire rocket, but immediately after the death or Habyarimana, the Hutus blamed the Tutsis. Mass murder on the Tutsis began. (BBC News)
The genocide originally organized by military officials, businessmen, and politicians. This was until the unofficial militia group of the Interahamwe seized control. The troops called themselves the Interahamwe because it meant those who attack together. At its strongest point, or the most members the Interahamwe had at one time was 30,000 soldiers. (BBC News)
Military officers and administrators began to order soldiers and citizens to slaughter the Tutsis. They used machetes, clubs, and hammers as weapons to savagely beat and decapitate innocent people. Many Hutu people were forced to kill their Tutsi neighbors by military officers and if