15 Facts About the Rwanda Genocide How 800,000 People Were Murdered in 100 Days
Rwanda is located in Africa and borders Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Tanzania and Uganda. Approximately 800,000 people were killed within the 100 days of the Rwanda genocide; the following facts about the Rwanda genocide explain the genocide’s precursors, methodology and consequences.

15 Facts on How 800,000 People Were Killed Within 100 Days

  1. Tensions between the Tutsi minority and Hutu majority were amplified when civil war broke out in Rwanda in 1900. Rwandan outcasts created the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and attacked Rwanda from their base in Uganda.
  2. The RPF consisted primarily of Tutsis who blamed the government for ignoring Tutsi refugees. All Tutsis were seen as RPF accomplices, and Hutus who belonged to opposition parties were seen as traitors.
  3. Although a peace agreement was reached between the opposing forces in 1992, political debate ensued in attempt to reconcile the Tutsis and Hutus. In 1994, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his place was shot down outside of the capital, Kigali.
  4. Hutu extremists believed the RPF to be responsible for the president’s murder and launched a genocide against them, whereas the RPF believed Hutus shot down the plane as an excuse for the genocide.
  5. President Habyarimana’s death sparked a violent campaign against Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians. Hutu rebels overwhelmed Kigali, eliminated all of Rwanda’s moderate leadership, and killed Tutsis and anyone suspected of having ties to a Tutsi.
  6. Government radio stations asked Rwandans to kill their neighbors and provided names, addresses and license plates. The radio was used to disclose locations of Tutsis and justify the genocide. Broadcasters used dehumanizing language to anger listeners and incite action.
  7. Once Hutu extremists encountered resistance from the RPF, they launched an extermination campaign to murder all Tutsis, thus eliminating their opposition.
  8. As many as 800,000 people were murdered by the Hutus from April to June 1994.
  9. Machetes were often used to kill Tutsis, as many Rwandans kept them around the house.
  10. Systematic rape was used in addition to the brutal mass killings. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped and killed during the Rwanda genocide; thousands of women were kept as sex slaves.
  11. At the end of 100 days, the RPF had made advances on the battlefield and in negotiations led by Tanzania. The RPF controlled most of the country by early July.
  12. The RPF victory created approximately 2 million more refugees, with over 100,000 Hutus fleeing in fear of reprisal killings. The aftermath of the Rwanda genocide intensified what was already a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
  13. The Rwanda genocide resulted in two decades of unrest in the DR Congo, where over 5 million people have died. Rwanda’s government, controlled by the RPF, has invaded the DR Congo twice because Hutu militias are believed to operate there.
  14. RPF’s leader and Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has overseen rapid economic growth in Rwanda and tried to turn the country into a technological hub. Critics say Kagame refuses to tolerate dissent, which resulted in the trial of nearly 2 million people for roles in the genocide.
  15. It is illegal to discuss ethnicity in Rwanda. The government says such a regulation is in place to prevent further bloodshed, but some believe the law will only cause tensions to build and eventually boil over.

Future Prevention

These facts about the Rwanda genocide elaborate on the genocide’s background and future implications in order to educate the public and prevent other tragedies. 

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

poverty rate in BurundiFrom the civil war that ravaged Burundi between 1993 and 2005 to the political turmoil that erupted in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term, Burundi has consistently battled displacement, violence and neglect that has dramatically increased the number of people living in poverty.

The civil war of 1993 through 2005—an ethnic conflict between Hutu’s and Tutsi’s that resulted in over 300,000 dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced—took a toll on the poverty rate in Burundi, which rose from 48 percent to 68 percent.

In the aftermath, people lacked access to potable water, adequate sanitation and medical aid. The vast majority of Burundian’s were thrust into poverty, battling sickness, hunger and violence.

Still, the country fought to recover. With the Arusha Accords, which ended the conflict and placed a two-term limit on presidential tenures, and an influx of foreign aid, the poverty rate in Burundi began to decline.

Yet, in 2015, as President Pierre Nkurunziza declared he was going to run for an unconstitutional third term, the country again fell into turmoil.

The repercussions have taken a toll on the poverty rate in Burundi—the United Nations Development Programme has estimated it as an astonishing 77.7 percent. What’s more, the country ranks 184 out of 188 countries on the 2016 Human Development Index. All said, Burundi is one of the poorest nations in the world, where access to basic goods and services is increasingly hard to come by.

As Nkurunziza, the Imbonerakure and Security Forces continue to capture, rape, torture and intimidate the people of Burundi, foreign aid is being pulled. The majority of major donors to the country have suspended budgetary assistance for the Burundian government and both the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on many opposition leaders and senior officials.

Even now, the turmoil continues to boil on and people continue to face a precarious future. This has led over 325,000 people to flee the country since 2015, most to neighboring Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This outflux has severely crippled Burundi’s economy. Agriculture, which makes up 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employs over 80 percent of Burundians, is losing the labor necessary for production and distribution. What’s more, private consumption has plummeted as people continue to march across borders away from the atrocities being committed.

As the economy continues to struggle; as violence, displacement and death are an ever-present threat and as foreign aid remains stagnant, precarity is becoming a way of life. The poverty rate in Burundi will continue to rise unless the international community takes a stand. Aid is essential, both monetary and humanitarian, in order to overcome the crises and stem rising poverty. The world sat back passively during the first civil war that tore the country apart. Will it happen again now?

Joseph Dover

Photo: Flickr