Date created : 04/04/2019 – 18:37Latest update : 04/04/2019 – 18:40
Rwanda on Sunday marks 25 years since the devastating genocide that erupted between the country’s ethnic Hutus and Tutsis, leaving up to 800,000 people dead.
On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and president Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, both men Hutu, was downed by a rocket attack. Almost immediately members of the presidential guard began killing Tutsi civilians in retribution near the airport in Kigali. Roadblocks set up by Hutu militiamen helped the gendarmerie identify Tutsis.
For the next 100 days a massacre of the Tutsi ethnic minority unfolded that ended only after a rebel militia led by Tutsi commander Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s current president, entered the capital.
Of the dead around 300,000 were children while more than 95,000 other children were orphaned.
On April 7, Radio Television Libre Des Mille Collines attributed the presidential plane crash to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and exhorted Hutus to eliminate the Tutsis. The prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, was murdered by government soldiers in an attack on her home while other Hutu leaders were also assassinated.
On June 22 the UN Security Council authorised French-led troops to launch a humanitarian mission. Known as Operation Turquoise, it saved hundreds of civilians but has also been criticised for allowing the soldiers and officials behind the genocide to flee Rwanda.
The RPF took control of almost all Rwandan territory on July 4, effectively ending the mass killings.
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