Rwanda Genocide

Abraham, Alex, Alexandria


On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. Violence began almost immediately after that. Under the cover of war, Hutu extremists launched their plans to destroy the entire Tutsi civilian population. Hutu extremists within Rwanda’s political elite blamed the entire Tutsi minority population for the country’s increasing social, economic, and political pressures. Political leaders who might have been able to take charge of the situation and other high profile opponents of the Hutu extremist plans were killed immediately. Tutsi and people suspected of being Tutsi were killed in their homes and as they tried to flee at roadblocks set up across the country during the genocide. Entire families were killed at a time. Women were systematically and brutally raped. It is estimated that some 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide.

Immediate Effects

Out of a population of 7.3 million people 84% of whom were Hutu, 15% Tutsi and 1% Twa–the official figures published by the Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,174,000 in 100 days (10,000 murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute). It is estimated that about 300,000 Tutsi survived the genocide. Thousands of widows, many of whom were subjected to rape, are now HIV-positive. There were about 400,000 orphans and nearly 85,000 of them were forced to become heads of families.

Lasting Events

By the end of 1995 it was hard to find anyone who would admit there'd been a genocide at all. Civil war people would say yes, some massacres, possibly, but no genocide. A year later the government of Rwanda surprised everyone by declaring a moratorium on arrests of suspected génocidaires. No-one expected, either, the speed with which the prevailing génocidaire mind-set seemed to be displaced by the government's order to resume communal life. Only two years after the genocide, killers and survivors found themselves living side by side - sometimes, for lack of choice, in the same house.
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