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Years of rivalry between the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi population sparked the Rwandan genocide.

In the past Rwanda had been a Belgian colony. The Belgians had favoured the Tutsi minority group because of their supposed European appearance. At first, supported by the Belgians, the Tutsis had controlled Rwanda.

However, between 1959 and 1962 the majority Hutu people had rebelled and overthrown the Tutsi government. The minority Tutsis had then been treated poorly as a result.

In 1990 a rebel group composed mainly of Tutsis based in neighbouring Uganda invaded northern Rwanda.

The civil war that followed led to increased ethnic tensions within Rwanda. Over the next four years the Hutu leadership used propaganda to assert that the Tutsis were planning to turn the Hutus into slaves. The message was that the Tutsis should be resisted.

On 6 April 1994 the plane in which the Hutu Rwandan president was travelling was shot down. Over the course of the next 100 days, 800,000 Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus were murdered in state-sponsored violence.

The attacks were largely organised and carried out by two Hutu paramilitary organisations. But people who had once been their friends and neighbours murdered many of the victims.