The Rwandan genocide is one of the greatest catastrophic events that man has ever witnessed. It took place between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic tribes and commenced on April 6th 1994 lasting for 100 days leaving over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.
The Hutu and the Tutsi lived in harmony in the pre-colonial Rwanda but the setting was spoilt by the Belgian colonial agents who through their form of indirect rule caused intense differences between the two tribes. The Tutsis were made chiefs and would implement all, sorts of forced labour and tax collection from the Hutus on behalf of the Belgians.
In 1959, the Hutu staged a revolution and by 1961 just a year to the declaration of Rwanda’s independence, they had gained control of the country and Gregory Kayibanda established a Republic Government replacing the Tutsi monarchical government. The tribal conflict remained and several attempts by the Tutsi to regain the government would be reversed by the Hutu amidst bloodshed. The situation in Rwanda remained volatile with external threats from the Tutsi since most of them had sought refuge in the neighbouring states including Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. The situation began to worsen again when the Tutsi dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front launched war in 1990 against the Hutu government of Juvenal Habyarimana. The Tutsis at home were always accused of having connection with the rebel activities and the situation ran out of hand when the President Juvenal Habyarimana – a Hutu was hit by a rocket launcher on a flight from Tanzania as he was nearly landing at Kanombe International Airport Kigali on April 6th 1994. The cause of President Habyarimana’s death is not clear as some attribute it to the Rwanda Patriotic Front Rebels while others argue that Habyarimana had finished signing a power sharing agreement in Tanzania which angered the Hutu extremists that never wanted to share power with the Tutsis.
100 Days of Tutsi Massacre!!!
Following the death of the President, the killing started immediately. The Hutu militia started to slain the Tutsis and moderate Hutus in cold blood with Machetes, knives, sharp sticks among others. People would be required to show their Identity cards at the road blocks and since the citizens had their tribes indicated, the Tutsis would be easily identified and killed. Hundreds of thousands of Children, Women including pregnant ones and men were slained in cold blood. The streets of Kigali, the schools, hospitals, churches and Rivers including Akagera were filled with dead bodies. Many women would be raped before being killed.
The Rwandan genocide eventually came to an end when the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) took over the Government of Rwanda. Years have passed and the destination Rwanda has seen a tremendous transformation from such worst experience to one of the fast growing economies on the continent of Africa.