Rwanda

The ethnic tensions in Rwanda led to one of the world’s largest genocides in 1994. In 1990, a Tutsi dominated rebel group (RPF) invaded the country in an attempt to overthrow the Hutu government, leading to the radicalisation of ethnic ideology. Over the course of 100 days, the Hutu-government forces and militias, would slaughter between 750.000 and 1 million civilians, Tutsis and Hutu moderates. The RFP resumed its invasion, defeated the government and seized control of the country,

Loading Images

«The stench of death meets me a few kilometers inside Rwanda after crossing in a hired jeep from Uganda. First I see the empty and abandoned villages, then empty beer and whiskey bottles, followed by pillaged luggage, torn-off clothes, and finally dead bodies. Horribly cut and mutilated bodies of all ages –babies, small children who had both their legs and arms cut off by pangas (machete-like knifes), women and old men.

A young girl, about 7 years old has survived the massacre of her parents and family by hiding under her mother’s opened and bloody body. After several days hiding in the bush she has found a boy, about 3 years old, who also lost all of his family in the same way. She has taken care of the boy and has finally been lucky to run into a rebel unit. The girl is sleeping close to the unknown boy’s bed, watching over him as his guardian angel.

During the following 100 days, the government army and the ‘Interahamwe’ militia will kill between 750,000 and 1,000,000 people in Rwanda. The Tutsi civilians have desperately taken shelter in many churches situated north of Kigali, and this is where the worst murdering has taken place. The scenes outside and inside the churches is so horrifying that they become nearly surrealistic; masses of twisted bodies in front of the alter, on and under wooden benches, on the floor and against the walls, frozen in a last desperate cry for help.

Help that will not come, because the US and Western Europe cannot agree if a genocide is really taking place in Rwanda»

Peter Strandberg | Rwanda | April-May 1994