AfriGeneas Africa Research Forum
Rwanda has experienced Africa's worst attempted genocide in modern times and is still recovering from the shock. However, its efforts at recovery have been marred by its intervention in the civil war in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The country has been beset by ethnic tension associated with the traditionally unequal relationship between the dominant Tutsi minority and the majority Hutus.
Although after 1959 the ethnic relationship was reversed, when civil war prompted around 200,000 Tutsis to flee to Burundi, lingering resentment led to periodic massacres of Tutsis.
The most notorious of these began in April 1994. The shooting down of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana near the capital Kigali - suspected by Hutus to be the work of Tutsi rebels - triggered what appeared to be a coordinated attempt by Hutus to eliminate the Tutsi population.
In response, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched a military campaign to control the country. It achieved this by July, by which time at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been brutally massacred.
Some two million Hutus fled to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). They included some of those responsible for the massacres, and some joined Zairean forces to attack local Tutsis. Rwanda responded by invading refugee camps dominated by Hutu militiamen.
Meanwhile, Laurent Kabila, who seized control of Zaire and renamed it the DR Congo, failed to banish the Hutu extremists, prompting Rwanda to support the rebels trying to overthrow him.
Rwanda withdrew its forces from DR Congo in late 2002 after signing a peace deal with Kinshasa.
Population: 7 million
Messages In This Thread