How could the Rwandan genocide happen? – BBC Africa

How could the Rwandan genocide happen? – BBC Africa

25 years ago, over the course of just 100
days, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. My name is Victoria Uwonkunda. I’m a journalist with BBC Africa and I want
to explain how this genocide happened. To understand how the genocide came about,
we need to know a bit about the people. There are two main ethnic groups in Rwanda:
Hutus, who make up about 85% of the population and the Tutsis, who are a minority but have
long dominated the country. Before European colonisers arrived in the
late 19th Century, the Tutsis were mostly aristocratic cattle herders; the Hutus were
mainly peasant farmers. The two groups share the same language and
the both are majority Christian. In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy
and tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda. Decades later in the late 1980s, Tutsi refugees
in Uganda – supported by some moderate Hutus – formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF),
led by Paul Kagame, the current Rwandan president. Their aim was to overthrow the Hutu President
Juvenal Habyarimana and secure the right to return to their homeland. The RPF invaded Rwanda in 1990. But In August 1993, after several attacks
and months of negotiation, a peace accord was signed between President Habyarimana
and the RPF, but it did little to stop the continued unrest. Then came the event that sparked the genocide. On the night of 6 April 1994 a plane carrying
President Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira – both Hutus – was shot
down, killing everyone on board. The mystery of who shot down the plane endures
to this day. Hutu extremists blamed the RPF and immediately
started a well-organised campaign of slaughter. The RPF said the plane had been shot down
by Hutus to provide an excuse for the genocide. Within hours, a campaign of violence spread
from the capital Kigali throughout the country, which would not stop for three months. The genocide was carried out with meticulous
organisation. Lists of government opponents were handed
out to militias who went and killed them, along with all of their families. Neighbours killed neighbours and some husbands
even killed their Tutsi wives, saying they would be killed if they refused. At the time, ID cards had people’s ethnic
group on them, so militias set up roadblocks where Tutsis were slaughtered, often with
machetes. Thousands of Tutsi women were taken away and
kept as sex slaves. This leads to another question:
How could the international community allow this to happen? Let’s start with the UN. The UN and Belgium actually had forces in
Rwanda – but the UN mission was not given a mandate to intervene and stop the killing. The UN force commander in Rwanda sent a now infamous cable to the UN headquarters in New York. In it he warned of intelligence about a Hutu
plan to exterminate Tutsis. A response came the same day, from the desk
of Kofi Annan, head of U.N. peacekeeping at the time, failing to act on the recommendations. Three months later, all the warnings came
true. The French, who were allies of the Hutu government,
sent a special force to evacuate their citizens but were accused of not doing enough to stop
the slaughter Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s current president, has
accused France of backing those who carried out the massacres – a charge denied by Paris. Meanwhile the US didn’t want to get involved
in another African conflict after The Battle of Mogadishu, which lead to the death of 18
US soldiers in Somalia a year earlier. So what made the killings so organised? Rwanda has always been a tightly controlled
society, organised like a pyramid from each district up to the top of government. The then governing party, MRND, had a youth
wing called the Interahamwe, which was turned into a militia to carry out the slaughter. Weapons and hit lists were handed out to local
groups, who knew exactly where to find their targets. The Hutu extremists set up a radio stations
and newspapers which broadcast hate propaganda, urging people to “weed out the cockroaches”
– meaning kill the Tutsis. The well-organised RPF, backed by Uganda’s
army, gradually seized more territory, until 4 July, when its forces marched into the capital,
Kigali. Some two million Hutus – both civilians and
some of those involved in the genocide – then fled across the border into DR Congo, at that
time called Zaire, fearing revenge attacks. Many also fled to Tanzania and Burundi. Two weeks later, on 18 July, the RPF announced
that the war is over, declared a cease-fire and named Pastor Bizimungu as president. Human rights groups say the RPF killed thousands
of Hutu civilians as they took power – and more after they went into DR Congo
to pursue the Interahamwe. The RPF denies this. What’s Rwanda like now? RPF leader and current President Paul Kagame
has been hailed for overseeing rapid economic growth in the tiny country. He has also tried to turn Rwanda into a technological
hub. But his critics say he does not tolerate dissent
and several opponents have met unexplained deaths. Have the guilty faced justice? More than 1.2 million people were tried in
local courts for their role in the genocide and dozens of senior Hutu officials were convicted
at a UN tribunal in neighbouring Tanzania. It is now illegal to talk about ethnicity
in Rwanda – the government says this is to prevent more bloodshed but some say it prevents
true reconciliation and is just putting a lid on tensions, which might only boil over
again in the future.


52 thoughts on “How could the Rwandan genocide happen? – BBC Africa”

  • Percocet hunter says:

    Its really sad to see that y'all just post negativ things about Africa why the media never show the beautiful things

  • MirikaCOfficially says:

    Thank you for this information. I have watched movies on this, and it was very close to the facts stated in this video. It still makes me so sad. I just …?. It breaks my heart. I just wish I could reach back in time and be powerful enough to shout “STOP!” and people listen.

    ❤️from America.❤️

  • Shallom Prince of Peace says:

    Africa will remain poor we choosed to hate than love,greedy instead of each other's keeper. Our forefather died fighting that we may have freedom from colonial regimes but instead we became killers,murderes,haters…etc.

  • Yes it's illegal to talk about ethnicity in Rwanda but surprisingly almost 90% of decision makers in Rwanda are Tutsi.

  • KillahManjaro says:

    The BBC is just another CNN, pure state propaganda.
    Never trust the BBC or these Europeans. these fuckers look like that want something to happen again in that country, it's in their best interest to make sure Africa people stays divided and poor.

  • Kigali has been turned into a clean and well ordered city when I visited, but vestiges of genocide could still be felt, such as detention camps, and people lacking their some body parts.

  • Kagame is the one who killed 6 millions of bantus because his army want to take power. The naive president, Habyarimana was not a saint.

  • Tutsis are a bit lighter and with different facial features than Hutus. It was racialy and ethincally based genocide.

  • Wakanda Forever says:

    Tutsi RPF rebels killed over a Million Hutus in DRC. But still Hutus are blamed for everything in Rwanda. These people killed each other, they should not put the blame game on one side. The plane was shot probably by then Rebels RPF, even by common sense RPF was the only enemy fighting the gvt with arms then. But today Tutsi hold almost over 90% of National cake in Rwanda. This will lead to more resentment and chaos in the future.

  • Tisha's amazing channel T says:

    This is so terrible?? trust and believe GOD is watching all of this and all who had part will see the punishment of the good lord???

  • Hey Superman Look says:

    Unarmed people are easy prey for armed people. A country without a culture of free speech and lacking a bias free peaceful dispute resolution mechanism, in which people using "identity" politics have formed parallel societies that compete against each other for control of the institutions of power. When the figurative direction of travel between the parallel societies is of DIVERSITY instead of UNITY then the tensions between groups can either spontaneously erupt, or are easily co-opted by those with a tribalist agenda. The present government's use of law to make it illegal to mention ethnicity is an attempt to reverse the mistake of unbridled diversity through control of the language, but unless there is an effective and rigorous set of policies to encourage a trajectory towards "unity", to make institutions blind to "identity", to enabling freedom of expression and inculcating a culture of peaceful resolution of disputes, then one day a presently external and aggrieved "identity" group will return in force to champion its group, and those at the time in control of institutional power will recognise the threat and just as quickly hand out weapons and direction to "its" side to try to prevent loss of control of the institutions of power.

  • Awkward Silence says:

    Who handed out the weapons the country didn't have any gun factories where did the weapons come from? The colonisers were responsible for the incitement and also non intervention. In fact that plane might have been shot down by them the colonisers.


    I traveled to Rwanda in 2016. I visited Kigali, Rwesero and Gisenyi. It's a beautiful country!! The pain is still palpable and prevalent. Prayers up for more open dialogue in the country about the horror that took place Spring '94 and how the seeds truly were planted for tribe vs tribe. Europeans in Africa have historically been poison; it would have been nice if this video touched on the influence Belguims in Rwanda as it relates to the genocide.

  • Still not really an explanation as to why the Hutu hated to Tutsi so much that they'd hack their neighbors to pieces with machetes. This was a stunning savagery by the average citezens not even seen in the…… Well never mind, I don't want a contest of who can do the best genocide. I just want to know what was going on in the heads of the Hutu citizens.

  • This seems like another documentary to justify the lack of action by foreign powers, who want everything to do with Rwanda's current successes

  • Mean Old Lady says:

    And just like the leftists today, they dehumanize their political opponents & rile their mobs of violent, brainwashed idiots to wage war in their name.

  • Mean Old Lady says:

    I also love how BBC jumped on this bandwagon despite leftists in power completely ignoring the situation (Clintons in the US) & are FUCKING SILENT on genocides going on in the Middle East & Africa today at the hands of the world's deadliest sex & death cult in human history that's killed 270+ million people throughout its 1400 year history & has waged over 35,000 global jihad attacks since 9/1/2001.
    Worthless hypocrites! Atheist utopianism is the second deadliest with 120+ million murdered in just 100 years. So of course the faux "moral outrage" of the atheist leftists is disgraceful!
    You moronic leftists want so badly to be merely SEEN as the best of humanity, yet you fail again & again & again to act with conviction over genocide!
    Worthless, useful idiots for globalist dictators & billionaires – especially every single person at BBC who constantly pumps out propaganda while sheltering muslims & paedophiles!

  • Genocide came about when tutsis were discriminatin against

    The genocide was well planned well calculated and well executex
    Thats why they killed a Million people in 100 days

    Not even the nazis could kill this many people within a short space of time

  • It happened because the UN is a worthless piece of shit that has a history of standing by as mass murder happens they literally did the exact same thing the very next year in Bosnia the UN and it's joke ass peacekeepers are worthless.

  • No one talks about it. And they always give roles to black actors, talking about equaliyty of fucking gender save the planet shut the fuck up its enough motherfuckers. You dont have ideas, tou just support what you see and hear. Fuck you all fuck your brain fuck this world

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