The genocide took place in April 1994; the Hutus began slaughtering the Tutsis in Rwanda. As the brutal killings continued, the world stood by and just watched the slaughter. The genocide lasted over 100d ays and it left over 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu died. The two tribes used to share a common past. When Rwanda was first settled, the people who lived there raised cattle and the people who owned the largest numbers of cattle were the Tutsi and the rest were the Hutus.
It wasn’t until the Europeans came to colonize the area that the terms Tutsi and the Hutu took on a racial role. The Germans were the first to colonize Rwanda in 1894, these looked at the Rwanda people and thought that the Tutsi had more European characteristics, such as the lighter skin and a taller build and hence put the Tutsis in the roles of responsibilities. However, when the Germans lost their colonies following the World War1, the Belgians took over power in Rwanda. In 1993, they solidified the categories of Tutsi and the Hutu by mandating that every person was to have an identity card that was labeled them either Tutsi and the Hutus or Twa. Even though the Tutsis constituted only about 10% of the Rwanda population, and the Hutu nearly were 90 %, the Belgians gave the Tutsis all the leadership positions which upset the Hutu people. When Rwanda people struggled for their independence from the Belgium, the Belgians changed the status of the two groups, facing the revolution which was started by the Hutus, the Belgians let the hutu , who constituted the majority of Rwanda’s population, be in charge of the new government and this upset the Tutsi. The animosity between the two groups continued for decades.
The Event that Sparked the Genocide
It was 8:30 pm on April 6, 1994, the president of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana was returning from a summit in Tanzania when his plane was hit by an air missile in Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali. All the people on the plane were killed in the crash. Since 1973, the president who was a Hutu had run a totalitarian regime in Rwanda, which had excluded all the Tutsis from participating in the government affairs. This greatly upset the Hutu extremists. Even though it has never been determined who started the assassination, Hutus profited the most from Habyarimana’s death. Within the 24 hours after the crash, the Hutus had taken over the government, blaming the Tutsis for the assassination and also began the slaughter.
The 100 Days of Slaughter
The killings began in Rwanda‘s capital city of Kigali, they used to check the identity cards and killed all who were the Tutsi. Most of the killings were done with the machete, clubs or the knives. Road blocks were set up around Rwanda. On April 7, the Hutu extremists began purging the government of their political opponents, which meant both the Tutsi and the Hutus moderates were killed. This also included the Prime minister. The Belgian people who wanted to help were also killed which forced the Belgium to start withdrawing its troops from Rwanda
The violence spread over the next days and weeks since the government had all the names of the Tutsi living in Rwanda, therefore the killers could go door to door, slaughtering the Tutsis. Men and Women and the children were murdered, since the bullets seemed expensive, most of the Tutsi were killed by hand weapons, machetes or the clubs. Many of them were tortured before being killed. Other victims were also given an option of paying for the bullets so that they could get a quicker death. A lot of Tutsi Women were raped and others killed, other women were kept as sex slaves for weeks. Some Tutsi women and girls were also tortured before being killed, such as having their breasts cut off or had sharp objects shoved up their vagina. Slaughter Inside Churches, Hospitals, and Schools.
Many of the Tutsis tried to escape the slaughter by hiding in the churches, hospitals, schools and the government offices. However, these places turned into places of mass murder during the Rwanda genocide. This was one of the worst massacres of the Rwanda genocide and it took place on 15 to 16 April 1994 at the Nyarubuye Roman Catholic Church in Kigali. The mayor who was a Hutu encouraged the Tutsis to hide in the church and then betrayed them to the Hutu extremists. The same massacres took place around .Rwanda, with many of the worst occurring between April 11 and the beginning of May. The Tustis were degraded in that the Hutu extremists wouldn’t allow the Tutsis dead people to be buried, their bodies were left were they were slaughtered from and were also eaten by the dogs and the birds.
The Rwanda Genocide Ends
This genocide ended only when the RPF took over the country, this was a trained military group consisting of the Tustis who had been exiled in the earlier years, and many of these lived in Uganda. These were able to enter Rwanda and took over the country In mid July 1994, when the RPF had full control, did the genocide stop.
Throughout the genocide of 100 days, over 800.000 to 1 million people Tutsis and some of the Hutus were killed in the Rwanda Genocide.
The victims of the genocide lay in large grave sites throughout the country.
During the period of the genocide, more than 6 men, women, and the children were murdered every minute of every hour of every day. This was maintained for over 3 months.
However, there are 300,000 to 400,000 survivors of the genocide.
About 250000 and 500000 women were raped during the genocide. And as the result over 200,000 children were born from these women.
67% of the women who were raped in the genocide were infected with HIV and Aids.
There are also 10 times as many widows than widowers in Rwanda due to the genocide
The many survivors are aged between 14 and 21, of which 60,000 are categorized as very vulnerable.
Over 75,000 of the survivors were orphaned as a result of the genocide.
Due to the poverty of the genocide, over half of the children who survived stopped their school.
Many of the survivors were left with no shelter.
7 of 10 survivors earn a monthly income of less than 5000 Rwandan Francs