The Rwandan Genocide (1994)

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying Juvénal Habyarimana, the President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu President of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed when the plane crashed.

Military and militia groups began rounding up and killing Tutsis en masse, as well as political moderates irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis (800,000 is a commonly noted number) and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia (Interahamwe). Even ordinary citizens were called on by local officials to kill their neighboring Tutsis who were called Inkotanyi – Cockroaches by the local radio stations inciting fear and hatred. The president’s MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide. The Hutu genocidaires were abetted by the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines broadcasting hate speech advocating violence against Tutsis. It broadcast at the same time as Radio Muhabura broadcast from Uganda, sponsored by the RPF and their Ugandan allies.

The RPF renewed its civil war against the Rwanda Hutu government when it received word that the genocidal massacres had begun. Its leader Paul Kagame directed RPF forces in neighboring countries such as Uganda and Tanzania to invade the country, but here, Paul Kagame did not direct RPF Forces from neighbouring countries because RPF was already in Rwanda for three years and half battling the Hutu forces and Interahamwe militias who were committing the massacres. The resulting civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for two months.

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