Rwanda is globally known for the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 people in 100 days. However, the country has now stabilized, peace has been restores and is ranked as the safest country in Africa thanks to the visionary leadership of H.E Paul Kagame and the togetherness of Rwandase who have worked together to transform Rwanda into an exceptional destination. For those who do not know, genocide was a massive slaughtering of the people in Rwanda that belonged to the two ethnic groups of the Tutsi and the Hutus. The ferocious killing begun on 6th of April 1994, and lasted for 100 days which left over 800000 Hutu and Tutsis murdered along with 2 million refugees crowded in disease-ridden camps in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania also known as Zaire in the past.
Who Are the Hutu and Tutsi?
The Tutsi and Hutu are two ethnic groups that share the same origin. These are the first occupants in Rwanda and some where raring cattle while others didn’t. Those that where raring cattle where known as the “Tutsi” and the rest that never had cattle known as the “Hutu”. However at this moment, anyone can easily change the categories either by owning cattle or intermarriage. It is after the colonization of the area by the Europeans for the Hutu and Tutsi to have an ethnic role. When Rwanda was fighting its independence from Belgium, the Belgians turn on the position for the two groups, facing a revolution initiated by the Hutu, and the Belgians left the Hutus who made up the largest population of Rwanda to take over the new government of Rwanda. This disappointed the Tutsi and led to conflicts between the two groups that continued for years and years.
The Event That initiated the Genocide
The scenario begun on April 6th of 1994, as the president of Rwanda by then- Juvénal Habyarimana was coming from a conference in Tanzania when his plane was shot by a missile as it was preparing to land over Kigali- the capital city of Rwanda.
From the year 1973, the President of Rwanda by then had a dictatorial regime where he never allowed the Tutsis from getting involved. This was broken on 3rd August 1993 when Habyarimana signed the Arusha agreements that weakened the Hutu powers on Rwanda and allowed the Tutsis also to get involved in the ruling affairs of the country. This greatly insulted the Hutu. Despite the fact that no one had a true story on who is responsible about the killing of the president of Rwanda. Within one day after the crash of the plain, the Hutu leader used a chance of Habyarimana’s death and took over the government that initiated the madder between the two groups.
100 Days of madder!
The killing started in Kigali- Rwanda’s capital city as the anti-Tutsi youth organization formed by the Hutu leader started to put up road blocks that used to check identity cards and killed however belonged to the Tutsi group by the use of knives, machetes and clubs. The act continued and within the next few days and months, it had spread all over Rwanda.
In the next several weeks, the bloodshed spread, since the ruling government was in the names and address of all Tutsis living in Rwanda, murderers could move door to door, killing people that belonged to the Tutsi since all identity cards had description of a Tutsi, Hutu or Twa.
Due to the fact that bullets where expensive, hand weapons like matches, and clubs where the most used weapons in killing people. A thousand of women, men and children were killed and some were given an alternative of paying for bullets so that they have a quick and less painful death. During the madder, hundreds of Tutsi women were raped before being killed, young girls were tortured by cutting off their breasts among other things while others were kept and used as sex slaves for some days/ weeks.
Slaughter Inside Churches, Hospitals, and Schools
The killing of people was done in very many places including schools, churches, and hospitals among other places where people used to hide. This lead to such places to be turned into places of massive murder after the period of Rwanda genocide.
The worst event in Rwanda genocide took place on the 15th and 16th of April at the Nyarubuye Roman catholic church which is situated in the eastern part of Rwanda at about 60 miles from Kigali city. This occurs as the mayor of the place was advising people his citizens to hide in this place that it will save most of them and the safest place from being killed, but unfortunately he betrayed them to the Hutus and none survived!
At this church, the killing spent like two days and it started with the use of guns and later changed to hand weapons such as the machetes, clubs and knives but this was too tiresome that the murderers reached an extent of making it in shifts till when the thousands of the Tutsi people where all killed.
Dead bodies where left on the ground un berried and exposed to predators like rats, dogs among other animals which made the event a remarkable one since the Hutu leaders were not allowing the corpses to be buried and some were thrown into rivers, and streams in act of sending them back to their origin as many people had wrong information that they came from Ethiopia.
The same events took in Rwanda in different places but the most hurting ones took place within the dates of 11th April up to the start of May.
The Rwanda Genocide Ends
The Rwanda genocide finally came to an end as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took over the government of Rwanda. This military group was made up of Tutsis who exiled in the earlier years and most of whom came from Uganda. These where able to enter the country and take over and gained full control in mid July of 1994 which marked the end of Genocide.