Rwandan Genocide is a term in reference to the 1994 mass slaughter in Rwanda of the ethnic Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu peoples. During that period, it was considered as a year of sorrow in the history of Rwanda. It was a period of mourning, mass killing, wandering and hunger. The mass slaughter started in 1994 and lasted over a time span of hundred days until the “Hutu Power” movement’s defeat in mid-July.
According to historical reports, the genocide was carried out primarily by Hutu supremacist militia groups, co-perpetrated by the government of Rwanda, the Army, and civilians in conformity with the “Hutu Power” movement.
The genocide was caused by a number of remote and immediate factors intertwining a complex situation and catalyst for the indiscriminate and brutality massacre. The Rwandan Genocide must first be considered as the product of Belgian colonialism. It was during the colonial rule that Rwanda’s ethnic groups: Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa became racialized through the use of ID cards. The rulling power was taken from the Tutsi and relocated to the Hutu by the Belgian post independence. It was the rigidification of these identities and their relationship with political power that laid the basis for genocidal violence.
After Rwanda gained independence in 1962, political power was left in the hands of the ethnic majority, the Hutus. But Hutu rule which was characterized by numerous discrimination against the Tutsis paved the groundwork for the 1994 genocide. All the major and most important positions in the country were held by the Hutus leaving minority Tutsis jobless. The Tutsis were then considered superior to the Hutus by the colonial master. A radio station was launched in 1993 by the Hutus to incite hatred towards the Tutsis by the use of propaganda and racist ideology, the Hutus ten commandments. These remote causes lend credence to the mass genocide in Rwanda.
The genocide started when the president’s plane was shot down by rebels, which the Tutsis were accused of the act, killing both the Rwanda and Burundian presidents. The Hutus out of anger, began to attack and massacre the Tutsi.
Approximately 80,0000 people, more of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the span of hundred days. The rate and brutality of the genocide really shocked the whole world, but it’s unfortunate to mention, no country not even the international communities intervened to stop the killings.
Most of the victims were killed in their own villages, homes or towns, many by their neighbors, friends and fellow villagers. Hutu gangs scanned every hiding place including in churches, school building and other public institutions which were believed to be the hiding places of the victims. It was really tragic; as many religious leaders such as monks, imams etc took part in the killing. Hutus who provided protection to the Tutsis were not exempted in the killing. The militia massacred the victims with machetes and rifles which were distributed by the rulling government to carry out the genocide.
Sexual violence was not uncommon, with approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women raped and others subjected to many other forms of sexual abuse during the genocide. Many were also left homeless. The genocide was followed acute farming causing malnutrition many deaths. The Rwanda genocide is described as the worse of all genocides in the history of Africa and the world at large. The genocide left many life long negative effects on Rwanda and today it’s a crime to mention divisionism and genocide ideology.