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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Hutus in Rwanda

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Date(s) Item
1501 - 1600 Tutsi are dominant in the area which now comprises modern Rwanda.
1890 Germans colonize Rwanda.
1910 The northern and western boundaries of Rwanda are agreed upon by colonial powers and remain essentially unchanged until the present.
1916 Belgian forces easily displace the German administration in Rwanda (then known as Ruanda-Urundi, an area which included Burundi).
1923 The League of Nations formally mandates Rwanda to Belgium (Belgian rule lasts until independence in 1962).
1926 Belgians decide that the population of Rwanda should be classified as either Tutsi or Hutu. Unlike in previous times, when the Hutu-Tutsi distinction was fluid (prosperous peasants could become Tutsis, while Tutsis who fell on hard economic times could suffer reduced social status and become Hutus), this Belgian administrative measure now strictly designates those who own more than ten cows as Tutsi and all others as Hutu, with no possibility of movement between the two groups. Imposing a Belgian practice, all citizens are issued national identification cards which include an entry for tribe. Thus, the complicated hierarchy of pre-colonial times is simplified, with more power concentrated at the top, and fewer benefits and prerogatives accruing to those at the bottom. In addition, Europeans want a uniform territorial system and therefore eliminate the pockets of autonomy which had existed in pre-colonial Rwanda. Some of these autonomous regions are in fact Hutu-controlled, further reducing the status of that group and enhancing Tutsi supremacy under European tutelage.
1946 Ruanda-Urundi became a UN trust territory under the administration of Belgium. The Belgians begin developing institutions of self-government among the people.
1951 - 1960 Hutu resistance to the Tutsi monarchy increases, as does the movement for independence from Belgium among both Hutus and Tutsis.
1959 The Hutu-Tutsi divide widens as ethnic politics intensify. The Parmehutu (Party for the Emancipation of the Hutu People) is pitted against the monarchist and Tutsi-led UNAR (National Rwandese Union). Belgium suddenly abandons its traditional clients and dispatches paratroopers to extirpate the Tutsi power structure. Clashes between Hutus and Tutsis commence in the north and quickly spread throughout Rwanda. An estimated 10,000 Tutsis are killed, with perhaps 200,000 more fleeing the country.
Jan 1 - Oct 31, 1961 Hutu-led political forces proclaim a Republic and abolish the Tutsi monarchy. A new constitution is drafted. The first Tutsi exile guerrilla group is formed.
1961 - 1970 Tutsi exiles form paramilitary units and mount incursions into Rwanda which target local Hutu officials. Tutsi exiles operate from sanctuaries in Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire. The Hutu government counters Tutsi guerrillas by deploying Belgian paratroopers and by orchestrating reprisal massacres of Tutsis.
1962 Thousands are killed in Hutu-Tutsi clashes provoked by incursions by Tutsi exile guerrillas [see entry above for "1960s"].
Jul 1, 1962 Rwanda gains independence from Belgium. On the same day Rwanda becomes a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
1963 Tutsi exile guerrillas invade Rwandan territory in three waves on November 25, December 20, and December 27. In a pattern that is becoming typical [see entry above for "1960s"] the Hutu government permits and encourages vengeance killings against Tutsi civilians [see entry below for "1964" for numbers of Tutsis killed and exiled].
1964 Rampaging Hutus, in response to Tutsi rebel incursions [see entry above for "1963"], kill 5,000 to 14,000 Tutsis and drive another 200,000 (out of a total of 600,000 Tutsis in the country) into exile in Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire.
1966 Reports of Tutsi-Hutu clashes with 200 dead.
1972 - 1973 Violence breaks out in southern Burundi as local Hutus attack local Tutsis followed by widespread massacres of Hutus by Tutsi army units and supporting elements throughout the country (an estimated 80,000 Hutus are killed). Apparently in response to the unrest in Burundi, the Hutu-dominated regime in Rwanda begins a program of expelling Tutsis from positions in government, education, and business. In addition, counter-massacres of Tutsis occur in Rwanda resulting in about 500 deaths.
Jul 1973 A bloodless military coup is led by Major General Juvenal Habyarimana (a Hutu), who proclaims himself President. Crowds of Hutus (possibly orchestrated by the military) attack Tutsis. Portions of the 1962 constitution are suspended, the legislature is dissolved, and a more centralized administration is created. A comprehensive program of expelling Tutsis from schools, government, and business is reportedly undertaken.
1974 Bujumbura Conference in which Zaire, Burundi, and Rwanda agree to coordinate defense and economy.
Jul 1975 President Habyarimana's National Revolutionary (changed to Republican in April 1991) Movement for Development and Democracy (MRND) is formed and declared the only legal political party (its chief task is proclaimed to be the eradication communal conflict).
1976 Economic Community of the Great Lakes (CEPGL) is formed between Rwanda, Zaire, and Burundi.
1979 The Rwandan Patriotic Front is founded by Tutsi exiles resident in Uganda, then calling themselves the Rwandese Alliance for National Unity. Harkening back to Rwanda's militia tradition, RPF fighters also refer to themselves as the "Inkotanyi," or the "the indefatigable ones." Close ties are forged between Ugandan rebel leader Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA) and Uganda's Tutsi exiles. Thus when Museveni is later installed as Ugandan President, political and military debts are owed to the Tutsi exiles.
1985 From this point forward, Rwanda's neighbors (Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zaire) repeatedly try to negotiate a program of systematic Tutsi repatriation, but Rwanda consistently stalls claiming, with some justification, that there is no land or jobs for returnees (of course, Rwanda's neighbors face these same limitations).
1988 As a result of disorganized rural violence by politically and socially discontented Hutus against local Tutsi officials, notables, and civilians in the north of Burundi, the Tutsi-dominated army conducts unpremeditated massacres of Hutus. Hutu deaths are estimated to be between 5,000 and 20,000, or as high as 50,000. An estimated 50,000 Hutus also flee to Rwanda. Almost all of this wave of refugees returned home by the end of the year.
Oct 1, 1990 From this point forward, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invades Rwanda from its bases in Uganda. In response, the Rwandan security service distributes arms to local civilian officials. Eventually, the army is increased in size to as many as 50,000 effectives. RPF forces are almost exclusively made up of Tutsi fighters with a few Hutus in showcase "political" positions. However, in a statement to the press the RPF denies that it is waging an ethnic war against the government, but instead describes their goals as merely political in nature. Habyarimana's National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) is divided between a hardline faction which opposes accommodation with the Tutsi rebels and a smaller conciliatory faction. There are reports that the government has arrested Tutsi businessmen, teachers, and priests as collaborators with the rebels. It is particularly significant that the government labels resident Tutsis with no connection to the RPF as rebel "accomplices." In fact, many Tutsis initially support the government against the RPF, but the regime decisively rebuffs them. Habyarimana admits that elite Zairian troops are helping to neutralize the RPF offensive. Habyarimana skillfully draws France directly into the conflict by staging a mock RPF "attack" on the capital, thus deceiving foreign journalists and diplomats into believing that the rebels are on the verge of overthrowing his government. France, as well as Belgium, quickly dispatches contingents to bolster the internal security of Rwanda. Anti-Tutsi French political and military officials refer to the RPF as the "Khmers Rouges" of Africa. Belgium cuts off military aid to Rwanda after RPF offensive, but it still furnishes the government with non-lethal aid.
Nov 1990 The RPF invasion is repulsed by government forces. President Habyarimana announces that he will allow multi-party politics commencing in 1991. Perhaps more importantly for settling the Hutu-Tutsi issue, he also declares that the practice of specifying ethnicity on the national identification card will cease, although this measure is never implemented. The World Bank loans Rwanda 80 million dollars to help solve chronic economic problems and calm heated political conditions brought on by the RPF invasion six weeks earlier.
1991 The US Department of State Human Rights Report for 1991 notes that up to 200 Tutsi civilians are killed in random attacks carried out by Rwandan army units and Hutu civilians. These killings are perpetrated in the northern provinces of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri, the two districts most directly threatened by RPF rebels.
1991 - 1992 The RPF conducts repeated, small-scale incursions into Rwanda.
Mar 1991 France gives Rwanda 13.6 million dollars worth of grant aid for the purchase of essential imports.
Jun 1991 Habyarimana signs a new Constitution which provides for multi-party politics, the creation of a prime ministership, a limited Presidential term (a candidate could seek a maximum of two terms of five years each), and separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government.
Jul 1, 1991 From this point forward, a new Political Parties Law goes into effect. It bans parties based on ethnicity or religious affiliation. Shortly thereafter, five new political parties are legally registered, and by the beginning of 1992 this figure rises to twelve. Although large street rallies are held demanding political changes, there is no indication that the non-RPF opposition to Habyarimana is militant (for example, they do not acquire guns or train for insurgency).
Aug 1991 The Justice Minister announces that an initiative is underway to improve the human rights situation in Rwanda. The release of 5,500 people arrested following the RPF invasion of 1990 is announced.
Sep 1991 Belgium grants Rwanda 5.6 million dollars to support a structural adjustment program. Among other purposes, the funds are to be used to train Rwandan journalists in Belgium as the first step in establishing a television network based in Kigali. At this time, Belgium also announces that it will furnish Rwanda with additional food aid.
1992 Habyarimana makes a series of visits to Mobutu of Zaire and Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo for advice on how to maintain his power. On their advice, Habyarimana maneuvers to split two key opposition parties (one of which was composed of both Hutus and Tutsis), thus polarizing the political situation and promoting tribalism.
Jan 5, 1992 Zaire, Rwanda, and Burundi agree to form a joint security commission to monitor their common frontiers.
Mar 14, 1992 Three of the largest opposition parties (the Rwanda Democratic Movement, Liberal Party, and Social Democratic Party) and Habyarimana's own MRND agree to form an interim coalition government.
Apr 1992 A continuing political crisis forces Habyarimana to agree to include two more opposition parties in his government. In addition to the RPF campaign, the following developments contribute to the mounting political stress placed on Habyarimana: protest marches by four opposition parties (carried out in January in Kigali and Butare and threatened in March); a threat by Habyarimana's only coalition partner, the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), to resign from the government (February); pressure from Catholic and Protestant Church leaders to grant a share of power to opposition parties; domestic press criticism (prompting the government to arrest at least two prominent Rwandan journalists); and criticism of Habyarimana's regime in the international press (including a March 1992 charge by a scholar with France's scientific research center, CNRS, that Rwanda is practicing genocide against Tutsis). Under the April agreement, the prime ministership goes to an opposition party, thus ending two decades of effective political monopoly by Habyarimana and his movement.
Jun 1992 Rwandan (Hutu) soldiers go on rampages in several districts as the appointed date for cease-fire talks approaches. Habyarimana announces that he intends to restructure the armed forces following widespread looting by troops who fear that they will be demobilized if a peace agreement is reached with rebels. In addition, the President announces that the army and gendarmerie commanders, as well as four other colonels, will be retired.
Jul 1992 In negotiations conducted under OAU auspices and attended by Western and regional diplomats, both the Rwandan government and RPF rebels agree that a neutral group of OAU military observers will monitor a cease-fire. The OAU group consists of 50 members drawn from the armed forces of Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Nigeria with logistical support provided by Belgium, France, Germany, and the United States. Amid much wrangling by various member states on the propriety of this action, and due to the manifest lack of effectiveness of the observer team, the OAU force is later withdrawn.
Aug 1992 The regime and RPF rebels agree on sweeping political reforms and the formation of an interim government which will include substantial RPF representation. Rwanda and Uganda sign a security pact aimed at ending tensions over Uganda's alleged aid to Rwanda's RPF rebels. Troops from Zaire fighting in Rwanda against rebels are withdrawn.
Oct 1992 An agreement in principle is reached to transfer important powers to a new all-party interim cabinet, simultaneous with greatly reduced presidential prerogatives.
Nov 1992 Habyarimana positions his MRND in close alignment with the CDR by joining with it and three other parties in the "Alliance for Reinforcement of Democracy." Despite the democracy-friendly name of this new umbrella group, Habyarimana has now forged a united front with the most radical anti-Tutsi elements in the Hutu political spectrum.
Jan 1993 The government signs a power-sharing agreement with the opposition, however nine Hutu MRND ministers issue a statement saying that the MRND should not accept the minority role assigned to it under the accord. In addition, in an official statement the MRND accuses Rwanda's Foreign Minister of treason for signing an agreement with the RPF. At the same time, moderate elements of the Hutu power structure lobby for a more comprehensive settlement with the rebels.
1993 Habyarimana's regime begins to train militia cadres known as the "Interahamwe" (or "those who attack together"), and the "Impuzamugambi" (translated as "single minded-ones" or "those who have the same goal"). The Interahamwe, eventually the largest and most deadly militia, are Hutus recruited from the youth wing of the President's MRND. Similarly, the Impuzamugambi are drawn from the youth wing of the CDR. The Hutu militias reportedly receive training by the army, and are furnished with grenades and AK-47 rifles, as well as machetes, knives, clubs, and bows and arrows. Other observers suggest that the French may provide direct or indirect training to the militias when they are in camps in the northeast of the country. Deployed throughout the Rwanda, the MRND and CDR militias commit massacres at the behest of both local Hutu officials and central Hutu authorities. In mid-March 1993, the militias are ordered to stand down by the government, but their network remains in place for speedy reactivation.
Feb 8, 1993 Breaking a cease-fire, the RPF launches major incursions into Rwanda from Uganda (on February 14 up to 600 rebels cross the border).
Mar 24, 1993 In response to a harsh report by a human rights panel, Habyarimana denies that any massacres have taken place since he took office. Habyarimana blames violence on the insurgency exclusively, and denied ethnicity was a factor in Rwanda's problems. Ethnic problems will end when the war ends, the President says.
Jul 1993 The Prime Minister lashes out at President Habyarimana for failing to sign a peace treaty with the RPF.
Aug 1993 At Arusha in Tanzania, a new comprehensive accord is concluded between Habyarimana and the RPF. A coalition government is promised, featuring a Hutu Prime Minister, and a 21 member cabinet with five Tutsis. The military forces and RPF troops are to merge, creating a new Rwandan army. The reformed officer corps is to be split equally between Tutsis and Hutus, with 60 percent of the troops recruited from government forces and 40 percent from the RPF. All refugees are to be allowed to return, and multi-party elections are promised for mid-1995. Vocal elements of Habyarimana's MRND denounce the Arusha accords, as does the Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), a Hutu extremist organization closely allied with (and perhaps controlled by) the MRND. There are reports that the government (in violation of agreements) is distributing arms to its supporters.
Nov 1993 A UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) is deployed consisting of 2,500 troops to monitor the Arusha accords reached between the RPF and Habyarimana in August. However, the ineffectiveness of this force is soon apparent. The UN force's mandate is peace-keeping, not peace-making, hence it can not actively intervene to prevent killings. In addition, it is composed of more than 20 different nationalities, each with its own language, few of whom can speak French.
Jan 1994 Another power sharing agreement is signed between the government and the RPF. Under the terms of this settlement, Habyarimana's MRND receives six of 22 government offices, including the positions of Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and the RPF is to receive five portfolios including Deputy Prime Minister and Interior. Remaining cabinet posts are to go to other parties. The organization Human Rights Watch issues a comprehensive report entitled Arming Rwanda which documents the extent of Rwandan involvement in the international arms trade. Human Rights Watch concludes that the massive influx of foreign weapons (mostly from Egypt, South Africa, and France on the government side) greatly contributes to the number of civilian deaths in the conflict.
Feb 1994 The Minister of Public Works is assassinated in the capital. The Minister, Felicien Gatabazi, was a Hutu but his political movement, the Social Democratic Party, is closely aligned with the Tutsi RPF insurgents. Clashes among his supporters and their hardline Hutu political rivals in the CDR ensue. Youths associated with the CDR target government opponents, both Tutsis and Hutu moderates, for beatings and killings. Africa Watch subsequently claims that the army also went on a selective rampage as a test to determine if the UN and world will react.
Feb 21, 1994 Elements of the Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), a Hutu extremist organization opposed to accommodation with the Tutsi rebels, storm the foreign ministry building in Kigali.
Apr 1, 1994 From this point forward, military clashes occur in the Rwandan capital of Kigali between RPF elements and the Rwandan military. Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntaryamira of Burundi (both Hutus) are killed when their plane is shot down by a missile over Kigali, Rwanda. The Presidential Guard in Kigali and army and militia elements in other parts of Rwanda begin attacking Tutsis and Hutus who are believed to be political opponents of the regime. The official government position is that RPF forces in the capital staged attacks on the Presidential Guard. After the massacres begin, the government describes the violence as a spontaneous "popular uprising" against Tutsis in revenge for their support of the RPF and its assassination of Habyarimana. Government radio calls on Hutus to kill Tutsis. With the targeting of moderate Hutus for extermination, the RPF for the first time is able to recruit appreciable numbers of Hutus into its ranks. By mid-1994, due to civil war and genocide, Rwandan society is in a state of complete collapse: at least 500,000 people killed between April and July, approximately two million refugees abroad and one million internally displaced people, the cessation of business and agricultural activities, the death or flight of the educated and talented, and the breakdown of routine government activity including legal, educational, and health operations. President Clinton issues an Executive Order imposing an arms imbargo on Rwanda.
May 17, 1994 The UN accuses RPF of perpetrating massacres.
May 26, 1994 The Washington Post quotes the UN General Secretary on Rwanda: "It is genocide which has been committed. More than 200,000 people have been killed, and the world is still discussing what ought to be done."
May 30, 1994 The UN Security Council adopts a resolution condemning the violence in Rwanda, but it avoids describing the situation as genocide.
Jun 1994 Press reports appear in the American media regarding the fact that the Clinton administration is deliberately avoiding use of the word genocide. Even as late as early June, State Department officials only state that "acts of genocide" are occurring. It is not until late July, after the fall of the Hutu-dominated regime and the end of the mass murder, that Clinton's envoy to Rwanda accuses the military of committing genocide and demands that an international court prosecute the perpetrators.
Jun 11, 1994 OAU ministers call the Rwandan massacres "a crime against humanity" (they do not specify which parties are responsible for the killings, however).
Jun 23, 1994 France begins dispatching 2,500 (marine and Foreign Legion) troops to Rwanda to establish a "safety zone" where Hutus, including presumably individuals who organized the genocide, can take refuge from the RPF.
Jul 1994 The UN Security Council authorizes the establishment of a commission to investigate genocide in Rwanda. The victorious Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) forms a government committed to the principals annunciated in the Arusha Accord signed in August 1993: societal reconciliation, national unity, and access to political power for all ethnic groups. Thus, today the Arusha agreement and the constitution form the fundamental laws of Rwanda. On a practical level, the RPF controlled government consists of 22 ministers recruited from five political parties. Hutu radio broadcasts exhort Hutus within French safe-haven zone to flee before advancing RPF forces, causing 250,000 to go into exile in Zaire. UNHCR estimates that between April and July 1994 200,000 to 500,000 Rwandans were killed (out of a total of 8.2 million). UNHCR reports that since April 1994 about 2.1. million Rwandans (half Hutu and half Tutsi) have fled to other countries (estimates: 1.5 million to Zaire, 200,000 to Burundi, 460,000 to Tanzania).
Jul 1 - Dec 31, 1994 The RPF government arrests 12,000 persons on suspicion of complicity in genocide. Even as late as mid-1995, it is reported that up to 1,500 Hutus per week are being detained under increasingly appalling conditions.
Jul 27, 1994 Rwanda accepts the proposal for an international court to try suspects accused of genocide.
Nov 1994 A National Assembly is installed consisting of 64 deputies from 8 political groups. Two Hutu-controlled political parties prominent under the Habyarimana regime, the MRND and the CDR, whose complicity in genocide is beyond question, are effectively banned by the RPF government. The UN Security Council, over the objections of Rwanda, establishes an international tribunal to try persons suspected of participating in genocide in Rwanda. The Presidents of Zaire, Rwanda, and Burundi hold a summit meeting to discuss the crisis over Rwandan and Burundian refugees. The Presidents call for "security zones" to be established by international troops as a measure to encourage refugees to return home.
Dec 1994 Rwandan Vice-President and head of the army Paul Kagame condemned the international community for its handling of Rwanda and the failure to prevent genocide. At opening ceremonies for a new transitional parliament, Rwandan officials pledged to seek ethnic reconciliation.
Jan 1995 The UN announces it will operate a radio station in Rwanda to provide objective reporting as a means to counter propaganda spread by ethnic radicals.
Mar 1995 Rwanda's army denies that its troops were involved in a political assassination of a provincial governor.
Apr 1995 The UN charges that 8,000 internally displaced Hutus die at the hands of Rwandan troops and in stampedes caused by the shootings. Hutus of the former Rwandan army in exile in Zaire stage cross-border raids into Rwanda.
Jun 1995 Rwanda issues new residency cards which carry no ethnic affiliation on them. Officials also pledge that new identity cards will have no such designation. Rwandan journalists attending a seminar pledge to refrain from inciting ethnic hatred.
Aug 1995 Zaire accuses Rwanda and Burundi of making preparations to attack refugee camps in Zaire. Rwanda's Hutu Prime Minister submits his resignation to the country's Hutu President, citing his concern about the killing of internally displaced Hutus by the Tutsi-controlled army.
Sep 1995 Senior diplomats criticize as unrealistic a UN-brokered plan to return Rwandan refugees home from camps in Zaire.
Oct 1995 Hutu rebels, many of them members of Rwanda's former army and killer militias, increase cross-border attacks into Rwanda from Zaire. In addition, Hutu radicals circulate hate propaganda in Hutu strongholds in northern Rwanda.
Dec 1995 Rwanda arrests a prominent human rights activist after he criticized the government for human rights abuses. Rwanda expels five Western aid agencies, raising the total number expelled to date to 43. Rwandan officials call for the withdrawal of the UN's contingent of 1,800 troops. The President of Burundi visits Rwanda to conduct security talks.
Feb 5, 1996 Around 30 people were killed in a new spate of attacks on villages in western and southern Rwanda. There is strong evidence that Hutu refugees in Zaire are being trained to carry out cross-border attacks.
Feb 12, 1996 Opposition leaders want the United Nations to expand its peace keeping force in Rwanda so that it can effectively monitor the safe return of refugees from Zaire. Because of financial constraints, UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) was reduced from 1800 to 1200 peace keepers three months ago.
Mar 1, 1996 A returning Hutu refugee was mobbed in Kigali when some recognized him as a member of the Interahamwe. He was arrested after police saved him from being killed by the mob. He was visiting Kigali under the auspices of the United Nations which offers return visits aimed at allowing refugees to see Rwanda for themselves to encourage repatriation. A second refugee on a similar trip was welcomed by his neighbors. There are 1.7 million refugees in Zaire, Tanzania and Uganda. Silas Munyiagis, deputy prosecutor of Kigali, was arrested and charged with having taken part in the 1994 genocide. He was accused of being a member of the Interahamwe.
Mar 1996 In Zaire, according the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, government ministers in Kivu region, Zaire, began actively advocating ethnic cleansing in March. Zairean government forces have sided with the Interahamwe, extremist Hutus who fled RPA (Rwandan Patriotic Army) forces in Rwanda after the Hutus killed up to one million Tutsis in 1994, and are even reported to take payments from them to participate in attacks on the Banyamulenge, people of Hutu or Tutsi origin who have lived in Zaire for generations.
Apr 11, 1996 The United Nations said 34 people were killed in attacks on the western village of Rutsiro.
May 1996 In Zaire, up to 750 people were reportedly massacred by Hutu militias at a monastery in Mikoto, near Goma, Zaire. Rwandan Hutus have reportedly massacred not only Banyamulenge, ethnic Tutsis, in Zaire, but also "indigenous" Zaireans who have formed the Bangilima militia to fight the Hutus and Banyarwanda in general.
May 3, 1996 The international tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania charged the most important of its first three detainees with taking part in massacres of thousands in 1994. Clement Kayishema pleaded not guilty to the charges.
May 22, 1996 In addition to fighting the government directly and carrying out attacks on villages, Zairean-based Hutu rebels have begun attempting to free their brethren accused of genocide from jails in Rwanda.
May 28, 1996 In Zaire, Rwandan Hutu extremists in camps in Zaire have begun attacking Zairean Tutsis of Masisi region, many of whom can trace their ancestry in the region back to the previous century. More than 1000 Tutsis have fled to Rwanda from the Masisi region.
Jul 3, 1996 Burundi’s Defense Minister Firmin Sinzoyeheba, a moderate Tutsi, denied Hutu rebel charges that Burundi troops with the help of Rwandan soldiers massacred 1000 Hutu civilians in Cibitoke province. He denied both that civilians had been killed and that Burundi is involved in the Rwandan conflict.
Jul 25, 1996 U.N. human rights workers said the RPA killed more than 100 people in search operations for Hutu rebels during an eight day period. They said 156 people had been killed in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri provinces. The army’s prosecutor was investigating the allegations.
Jul 31, 1996 In Zaire, two human rights groups reported that the Zairean government had done virtually nothing to stop attacks in North Kivu by Hutu and Hunde militias against ethnic Tutsis (Banyamulenge). Before the 1994 Rwandan genocide and resultant refugee flow into Zaire, there had not been reports of fighting between Tutsis and Hutus. Prior to the arrival of Hutu extremists, the fighting pitted Hunde, Nyanga and Nande ethnic groups against the Banyarwanda as a whole. In July-August 1994, about 720,000 Hutu refugees arrived in North Kivu. Their arrival destroyed the Banyarwanda alliance in the Province and spurred an escalation of the violence. Banyamulenge have been virtually eliminated from Masisi and Hutu have been expelled from Walikale, Lubero, and Rutshuru.
Aug 13, 1996 Amnesty International reported that during April-July, more than 650 unarmed civilians had been killed by soldiers and rebels.
Aug 18, 1996 About 150 people were killed in northwestern Rwanda in clashes between army troops and Hutu rebels over the past two weeks.
Aug 22, 1996 The U.N. Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda said in July it received reports of 365 killings in 93 separate incidents. In Gisenyi prefecture alone there were 220 killings. This marks a significant increase compared to previous months.
Aug 23, 1996 Rwanda denied Zairean accusations that Rwandan troops had invaded eastern Zaire and said exiled Rwandan militiamen were carrying out genocide in Kivu region. Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana urged the 1.1 million Hutu refugees in eastern Zaire to return home. He also said Zaire was giving sanctuary to Interahamwe militiamen.
Sep 1996 In Zaire, killings around the town of Uvira, Zaire the weekend of 13 September have left about 50 people dead. The victims were Banyamulenge and Zairean troops were said to have taken part in the massacres. Humanitarian agencies were unable to confirm the numbers killed because Zairean troops had sealed off the region. The killing of Banyarwandans which began in the spring in eastern Zaire has escalated to a larger rebellion in the region. With the influx of mostly Hutu Rwandan refugees in 1994, the situation in Eastern Zaire worsened. The Banyarwandans of Kivu had been united against Zaire’s government and locals who were attacking them. With the influx of the refugees, the Banyarwandans were divided and Tutsis, Banyamulenge, came under attack from Rwandan Hutus as well as the government and locals. It was at this point that an organized rebellion of the Banyamulenge got underway which eventually led to the downfall of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire.
Sep 3, 1996 Fourteen were killed and 75 wounded in a hand grenade attack at a market in Nyakabuye in Cyangugu region in the southwest. The U.N. human rights office said up to 111 people, mostly civilians, were killed during August.
Sep 8, 1996 In Zaire, the deputy governor of South Kivu, Zaire, told ethnic Tutsis, Banyamulenge, to leave Zaire within a week. The warning sparked a revolt by the community. Banyarwanda in North Kivu also began fighting the Zairean government and the uprisings in the east encouraged opposition groups, separatists and pro-democracy activists throughout Zaire. Mobutu’s government has accused Rwanda and Burundi of supporting the rebels in Kivu.
Sep 26, 1996 The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ruled that witnesses must not be publicly identified for fear of their safety. The Tribunal’s mandate is to try top genocide planners and perpetrators. The maximum sentence of the tribunal is life in prison.
Oct 12, 1996 In Zaire, at least 50 villagers were killed in Goma, Zaire and 9000 fled. An armed group of "indigenous" Zaireans, the Ingilima, were said to be responsible. Most of those who fled were long-time Hutu farmers. The Ingilima are opposed to all Banyarwanda, who make up the majority in Goma and other regions in Kivu region. They fear losing political power and land to the Banyarwanda, especially after the influx of refugees arrived in 1994.
Oct 24, 1996 In Zaire, rebel forces seized Uvira, Zaire on Lake Tanganyika. At least 300 Banyamulenge were reportedly murdered in a spate of incidents in recent weeks in Kivu near Uvira.
Oct 28, 1996 In Zaire, Muller Ruhimbika, an exiled Banyamulenge leader of the Democratic Alliance for the People, said opposition groups based in Shaba and Kasai provinces, Zaire, supported the Tutsi rebels and were fighting for the ouster of Mobutu. Three hundred thousand people, mostly Hutu refugees, have been displaced by the recent rebel offensive. The Zairean army has suffered a string of defeats in South Kivu. As news of the conflict spread to Kinshasa. Mobs plundered the homes and businesses of Banyamulenge as well as Rwandan nationals who had fled over the past three decades.
Oct 30, 1996 In Zaire, Laurent Kabila’s forces seized Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province, Zaire. Kabila came on the scene in eastern Zaire after the uprising by the Banyarwandans began in the Spring. He has organized troops and begun the fight against Mobutu’s government. He is supported by the Banyamulenge and others. Throughout the fall, his troops gain ground and he becomes the lead actor in the rebellion against the Zairean government. He is also thought to have financial and/or military support from the Rwandan government.
Nov 1, 1996 In Zaire, Rebels and Rwandan soldiers captured Goma, Zaire. About 500 people were killed in battles. The majority of those fleeing the fighting in the East are heading into the interior of Zaire while others are crossing into Tanzania. Zambia has reported the arrival of more than one thousand Rwandan refugees while Uganda reported tens of thousands have been arriving. There are also about 145,000 Sudanese refugees in Zaire who may return to Sudan to escape the fighting. Kabila has announced that he believes the solution to the refugee crisis in Zaire is to have all refugees return to their native lands.
Nov 1, 1996 Thousands fled Gisenyi, Rwanda as Rwandan and Zairean forces exchanged fire across their border.
Nov 14, 1996 In Zaire, Laurent Kabila stated that any international force that came to Zaire should have the mandate of separating the Interahamwe from the Rwandan refugees in the east of the country. The purpose of an international force would not be to interfere in the fighting but to deliver aid to refugees. Kabila’s forces bombed Mugunga refugee camp. Hutu refugees from Mugunga and other camps fled. Up to 700,000 returned to Rwanda and others fled west into the interior. Some of the refugees in Zaire were believed to be hard line Hutus who had perpetrated the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
Nov 15, 1996 Refugees in Zaire started their walk back to Rwanda after Zairean rebels broke the hold extremist Hutu rebels had over them. The Hutu rebels were trying to prevent the return of the refugees to Rwanda.
Nov 19, 1996 Documents found in an abandoned eastern Zaire camp showed how Hutu rebels used the U.N. camps to plan assassination attempts against Rwandan government leaders and wage an insurgency campaign across the border. Hutu extremists used Mugunga camp as a base to buy weapons, train fighters and coordinate plans to retake Rwanda.
Nov 23, 1996 The United Nations and United States disagree over the number of Rwandan refugees in Zaire. The U.S. army said its week-long assessment showed 202,000 refugees remained in Zaire and that 600,000 had returned to Rwanda. The U.N. said 600,000 refugees remained in Zaire and before the exodus began 15 November, a total of 1.23 million refugees were living in Zaire.
Nov 27, 1996 Thousands of refugees streamed into Sake at the northern tip of Lake Kivu in Zaire on their way back to Rwanda. Some reported massacres by Hutu militiamen who tried to prevent their return.
Nov 28, 1996 A document that circulated privately in the United Nations for months suggests that Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali and other top U.N. officials knew as early as January 1994 that genocide was planned in Rwanda. A telegram from U.N. military commander in Rwanda Romeo Dallaire sent to the U.N. headquarters 11 January 1994 said an informant “has been ordered to register all Tutsi in Kigali. He suspects it is for their extermination. Example he gave was that in 20 minutes his personnel could kill up to 1000 Tutsis.” Dallaire also warned that "Belgian troops were to be provoked and if Belgian soldiers resorted to force, a number of them were to be killed and thus guarantee Belgian withdrawal from Rwanda." This indeed took place leaving only a minute U.N. presence in the country at the height of the genocide in April-May 1994.
Dec 11, 1996 Ten to thirteen thousand Rwandan Muslims in refugees camps in Tanzania agreed to return home. Few of them played any part in the 1994 genocide.
Dec 12, 1996 About 320,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees, of a total of 540,000, have fled camps in northwest Tanzania. About 15,000 refugees near the Uganda border also fled. The exodus started on a small scale and snowballed when word spread that refugees in other areas had fled into the bush. Hundreds of thousand of refugees in Tanzania are being prevented from returning home by Hutu extremists and they have fled in all directions except back to Rwanda.
Dec 13, 1996 Aid workers said they have found at least 5500 bodies in the town of Goma. Many of them are Hutu refugees believed to have been killed by Interahamwe trying to prevent their return to Rwanda. Of the 5500, 1100 are Zaireans from Goma. There is little evidence that the killing continued after the town fell into Kabila’s hands.
Dec 18, 1996 Almost one in six Rwandans is a newly returned refugee. The government has ordered that Tutsis living in homes abandoned by Hutus who fled after the genocide are to surrender them to the former occupants within 15 days of their return. However, most of the rural homes were taken over by other Hutus who want to stay in them. In the cities, many of the Hutus who fled were middle-class and educated and implicated in the genocide, so they are unlikely to return.
Dec 20, 1996 Tanzanian police are suspected of burning down a church and beating Rwandan refugees in order to force them to return home. Tanzanian authorities ordered all 540,000 refugees to return to Rwanda by the end of December and more than 260,000 have already left.
Dec 27, 1996 The first genocide trials in Rwanda opened in the town of Kibungo in the southeast. Deputy justice minister Gahima told reporters that the government was contemplating public executions of those found guilty of genocide.
Jan 1997 More than 2500 Hutus from among 460,000 refugees who returned to the country in December have been arrested as genocide suspects. About 90,000 Rwandans are crammed into jails accused of taking part in the genocide. Of these, about 2000 are accused of planning the genocide. The international court in Arusha is plagued by mismanagement and is criticized for failing to protect witnesses, two of whom have already been killed. The tribunal says the Rwandan army is responsible for witness protection. Among four indicted Rwandans held in Cameroon is Col. Theoneste Bagosora who has been described as the creator of the regime responsible for planning the genocide. Cameroon agreed January 9 to transfer him to Arusha. Hundreds have been killed in the months since refugees were forced to return from Zaire and Tanzania. The returnees include members of the Hutu Armed Forces of Rwanda and are concentrated mainly in the forest and bush of Gisenyi province. They are reportedly well equipped with weapons.
Jan 30, 1997 Hutu extremists killed 20 Tutsi civilians and wounded at least nine others in an attack near Ruhengeri. The Tutsi-dominated army killed an unknown number of Hutus in reprisal. Rwandan officials said troops killed some 80 people in a crackdown in the prefecture of Ruhengeri last week after suspected Hutu gunmen killed three Spanish aid workers (Doctors of the World) on 16 January. The government said it had arrested three suspects, soldiers of the former hardline Hutu government, in connection with the killings.
Feb 1997 There were an increasing number of attacks reported on missionaries, schools and witnesses in late January and early February. The Rwandan Patriotic Army has recruited 2000 Hutu soldiers to hunt down ex-Rwandan Armed Forces soldiers. Rwanda has doubled the size of its police force to 1500 to battle increased rebel attacks. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan dismissed the Chief Administrator, Andronico Adede of Kenya, and Deputy Prosecutor, Honore Rakotomanana of Madagascar, of the U.N. war crimes tribunal in Arusha. They had been accused of gross mismanagement of the tribunal.
Feb 5, 1997 The United Nations pulled all staff out of western Rwanda after gunmen killed four U.N. human rights monitors and their driver. The ICRC said it was also freezing its work in Rwanda for ten days and pulling all non-essential staff out of the country. The U.N. workers were killed in an ambush in the commune of Karengera, 200 miles southwest of Kigali on the Zairean border.
Feb 7, 1997 The Rwandan government has vowed to pursue those responsible for increased attacks against U.N. staff, NGO workers and genocide survivors. Nine expatriates have been killed in the past month, including a Canadian priest. The government also said it had identified the killers of the five U.N. workers at Karengera.
Feb 14, 1997 U.N. human rights chief Jose Ayala Lasso will go to Rwanda and Burundi next week to assess security in the two countries following the killing of five of his staff by Rwandan gunmen. The human rights office in Rwanda largely suspended its work in the country after the killings.
Feb 16, 1997 Vincent Nzezabaganwa, head of the State Council Court and Vice-President of the Rwandan Supreme Court, was killed in his home in Kigali by men wearing uniforms. Three other men visiting him were also killed. Nzezabaganwa was a Hutu and was not directly involved in the trials of alleged genocide perpetrators.
Feb 20, 1997 The Rwandan government has denied an Amnesty International report accusing the RPA (Rwandan Patriotic Army) of committing serious human rights violations. The report said hundreds had been killed since the repatriation of refugees from Zaire and Tanzania. It said Hutu militias were responsible for some of the deaths, but that the RPA held responsibility for the majority of human rights violations in Rwanda. The Ruhengeri region has been especially hard hit by an increase in human rights violations since the return of the refugees.
Feb 21, 1997 At least 1700 Burundian refugees, mostly Hutus, left a camp in southwestern Rwanda to return home. They left the camp near Cyangugu to return to Cibitoke province in northwestern Burundi which is an area severely affected by conflict. At least 4300 Burundi refugees are thought to remain in Rwanda.
Feb 22, 1997 Unidentified gunmen in eastern Rwanda near Kibungo killed 21 Hutus, 16 of them children, who had returned to the region late last year from Tanzania.
Feb 26, 1997 The European Union is considering an arms embargo in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Rwanda protested angrily at the discussion of embargo saying it was the target country. The United Nations operation in Rwanda said security in the country has deteriorated sharply since January. At least 424 people were killed in January alone, the highest monthly death figure in the country in a year. The rise in violence has prompted the United Nations to cut the number of human rights monitors from 131 to 104 and most of those remaining are confined to Kigali. Human rights abuses have especially increased in the regions bordering on Zaire.
Mar 1997 At least 20 people were killed in Rushashi commune in rural Kigali prefecture. Locals said the attackers were Interahamwe. The genocide trials continued in Arusha and throughout Rwanda. In Rwanda, at least 22 death sentences have been delivered since the opening of the trials.
Mar 5, 1997 The FAO (U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization) said in a report issued in Nairobi that fighting in eastern Zaire and an influx of refugees to Rwanda in late 1996 had created severe food deficits. Deaths from malnutrition and disease were already being reported. Continuing political and social uncertainty and an economic embargo imposed by neighboring states have seriously undermined food production in Burundi.
Mar 17, 1997 The U.N. human rights mission in Kigali has said it is "concerned by the increase in killings and attacks against genocide survivors and persons associated with them." RPA spokesman Major Emmanuel Ndahiro attributed the increase in attacks to the lack of screening for hard core militias in the masses returning from refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania. Many former FAR (Rwandan Armed Forces) members have resettled in villages where they reportedly had hid arms before fleeing to Zaire.
Mar 25, 1997 Roberto Garreton, a U.N. human rights investigator, has left for Zaire to look into reports of alleged massacres by mainly Tutsi rebels in the east. He will report his finding to the U.N. Human Rights Commission which is meeting in Geneva until April 18. More than 300,000 Rwandan refugees remain unaccounted for in eastern Zaire. Refugees say they are being forced home from Zaire by Tutsi rebels and Rwandan Hutu militiamen far behind the line of rebel advance in Zaire.
May 1997 Maurice Sebahunde, sub-prefect of Ngororero was shot in an ambush. He was a former intelligence agent under the Hutu regime of Juvenal Habyarimana. He was accused of plotting a coup in the 1980s and placed under arrest. He was freed by RPF soldiers. Attacks and assassinations have increased in recent months in the northwest because of the infiltration of Hutu extremists from Goma, Zaire. The United Nations said at least 137 civilians were massacred by the army in reprisal operations in Ruhengeri in March. Ruhengeri is populated mainly by Hutus and is the scene of an insurgency by Hutu rebels. Witnesses put the number of killed much higher. The military told U.N. authorities that Ruhengeri’s battalion commander was responsible for the killings and that he had been arrested. During the month, at least 14 defendants were found guilty of genocide and sentenced to death. Amnesty International condemned the risk of unfair trials which could lead to the execution of a large number of Rwandans accused of genocide. A Nigerian jurisprudence specialist Agwu Uwike Okali was named new registrar of the Arusha tribunal.
May 6, 1997 The U.N. Children’s Fund reported a rise in the number of Rwandan Hutu refugee children with bullet and machete wounds in eastern Zaire. Spokeswoman Marie Heuze accused the rebels of blocking relief work so as to put the blame for the chaos of the region on the U.N. system. She said there were few supplies available to dress the wounds.
May 13, 1997 The Rwandan government and the UNHCR (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) are trying to speed up repatriation of 30,000 refugees from Zaire. Humanitarian agencies have estimated that 50,000 Rwandans are stranded in the Zairean town of Mbandaka and 17,500 are trying to cross into Angola. They are being driven from refugee camps by ex-FAR and Interahamwe members. The U.N. Security Council has expressed its concern about Rwanda’s deteriorating prison conditions and poor judicial system and has called on the government to improve them. They also expressed concern over the deterioration of the overall security situation in Rwanda and condemned attacks on the civilian population.
May 18, 1997 Rwanda and Kenya recognized the government of Laurent Kabila in Zaire.
Jun 3, 1997 The U.N. human rights office in Kigali said state agents were blamed for 162 killings over a six week period until mid-May. One hundred fifty two were slain by soldiers in the northwestern border region of Ruhengeri. One hundred eighty two others were killed in ethnically motivated violence in the same period of which at least 51 were blamed on Hutu rebels. The human rights office had no information on abuses committed against refugees returned from Zaire and Tanzania because most of them have returned to border regions which are off-limits to relief workers because of the guerrilla war being waged by Hutu rebels against the Tutsi-dominated army. Women reportedly now make up 70% of the Rwandan population.
Jul 18, 1997 Kenyan authorities arrested seven people, including former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, suspected of involvement in the 1994 genocide. They are being held in Arusha Tanzania. Kambanda rose to power when his predecessor Agathe Uwilingiyamana and a dozen Belgian U.N. troops protecting her were slaughtered following the death of President Habyarimana. The others arrested are Pauline Nyramasuhuko, interim Family Welfare Minister; Nyramasuhuko’s son; Col. Gratien Kabiligi; Commander Aloys Ntabakuze; Sylvain Nsabrimana, prefect of Butane, the site of many Tutsi massacres; and Hassan Ngeze, a prominent media figure accused of distributing materials inciting violence against Tutsis. Kenya has only recently begun to cooperate with the international tribunal, which has the power to arrest and put on trial Rwandan genocide suspects. So far, the tribunal has tried only four suspects and no decisions have been handed down.
Aug 4, 1997 The Rwandan Patriotic Army estimated that more than 1800 insurgents were killed in the north in recent weeks. The military is optimistic that it has restored security to the country.
Aug 8 - 10, 1997 RPA forces reportedly killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in a series of incidents in Gisenyi Prefecture. The United Nations and Amnesty International also reported that over 2000 people have been killed by the RPA in the past few months.
Aug 17, 1997 Two groups of RPA soldiers have been arrested after they were accused of killing civilians and taking part in thefts while on duty.
Aug 21, 1997 Attacks on a camp housing ethnic Tutsi Congolese refugees at Mudende in Gisenyi have left 142 people dead.
Sep 12, 1997 Four government officers were sentenced to 28 months in jail for involvement in the massacre of about 100 civilians in northwest Rwanda in September 1995. The four were accused of ordering the slaughter in reprisal for the murder of a fellow officer.
Sep 17, 1997 Some 5000 Tutsi refugees have returned to Umbungagai, Gisenyi Prefecture. The refugees began their trek last month after attacks at Masisi refugee camp by ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).
Oct 1, 1997 Famine that stretches north to Sudan and East to the Horn, is also affecting Rwanda. Five of eleven provinces in Rwanda are said to be facing acute food shortages. The famine is being caused by lack of rain, and the conflict in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, the main food supplying regions of Rwanda. The FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) estimates that 1.6 million people will need food assistance in late 1997. Food security began deteriorating with the return of refugees in November 1996.
Oct 5, 1997 Congolese troops are reportedly driving thousands of Hutu refugees back to Rwanda. Over 2000 have been forced across the border. Between 10-15,000 Hutu men had fled to the DRC in the past few weeks to escape fighting in northwestern Rwanda.
Oct 16, 1997 Rwandan authorities have warned thousand of squatters to vacate properties belonging to others or face evictions. Many civilians returning after the 1994 genocide have found their homes occupied.
Oct 30, 1997 The Kigali government has been angered by the forceful repatriation of refugees from Tanzania. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said Tanzania expelled about 600 refugees as well as Tanzania nationals of Rwandan origin over the past two weeks. Thirty-six thousand refugees, mostly Tutsis, remained in Ngara district despite the massive repatriation scheme. Most do not live in refugee camps.
Nov 13, 1997 Rwanda’s economy has been shattered by years of conflict, but the government has vowed to repay all foreign debts incurred by previous regimes. The debt began mounting after Rwanda and the IMF signed a structural adjustment agreement in 1990.
Nov 21, 1997 According to Amnesty International, RPA soldiers reportedly killed at least 539 civilians in Jenda, Nkuli, and Ruhengeri. Other massacres also reportedly took place over the past month: on 16 November, RPA soldiers surrounded Kirehe in Ruhengeri and shot dead over 300 people; on 9 November RPA soldiers shot at civilians in Gashyusha in Gisenyi killing at least 150; 23-28 October, several thousand people were reportedly killed by RPA soldiers in a large cave at Nyakima, Gisenyi. Since October, the armed opposition groups have also become bolder and more ruthless in their attacks against civilians. Hundred have died at their hands in the past two months.
Nov 24, 1997 At least 157 people were killed in two separate incidents in the northwest. One incident involved an attack on Giciye Prison south of Gisenyi town. About 100 prisoners were freed, while 88 were killed. The government also reportedly killed 200 attackers. Security in the northwest has increased dramatically over the past few months.
Nov 28, 1997 The Party for the Liberation of Rwanda and its army have been circulating hate literature for the past two months calling on the population to rise in rebellion against the Tutsi-led government. The government estimates there are 30,000 Hutu insurgents operating in the north.
Dec 4, 1997 Three hundred armed Hutus stormed a prison in Bulingu in Central Rwanda freeing about 500 inmates jailed for their alleged involvement in Tutsi massacres.
Dec 12, 1997 The Interahamwe carried out a raid on Tamba Commune, south of Gisenyi town killing the local mayor, his driver, and 10 genocide survivors. They also set ablaze government buildings and had previously raided the prison releasing accused genocide perpetrators. In recent months, a dozen mayors, councilors, and other local political leaders have been murdered across the country.
Dec 24, 1997 Attacks against civilians continued in Kibuye prefecture where 20 were killed. Seventeen people were killed at a Protestant mission near Gitarama, and 84 refugees in transit in Gisenyi were also killed. The Interahamwe was blamed for these attacks.
Dec 31, 1997 The UNHCR and Rwandan government are proceeding with the transfer of ethnic Tutsi Congolese to Byumba in the northeast following repeated attacks by armed insurgents. Up to 120,000 have been relocated from Mudende in Gisenyi Prefecture. A mid-December raid killed over 1000 people at the refugee camp.
Jan 7, 1998 Interahamwe militiamen killed 40 people in Gitarama Prefecture. In addition, 52 people were killed in Nyabikenke on 6 January, and 150 were massacred at Rukaramu at the beginning of the month. About 8000 people have fled these areas.
Jan 26, 1998 Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana has said the transitional period, originally set to last five years, would probably be extended. He said January 1997 should be the start date for the five year period because of the influx of refugees back into the country starting at that time. The opposition has rejected as unacceptable any extension of the transitional period.
Feb 1998 The Rwandan government has acknowledged that huge security problems exist in some regions of the country. Government forces are estimated at 30-40,000 troops, two-thirds of which are stationed in the northwest where the conflict is at it’s most intense. The Interahamwe is continuing its genocidal ways, and murders, disappearances, and mass killings are a daily occurrence. In early February rebel Hutus had reportedly received reinforcements of men and equipment, and they now control some roads in Gisenyi region. In the weeks following the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the genocide (2/6), 100 people were killed by Hutu militiamen. An escalation of violence began in February and continued throughout the spring.
Mar 1998 Anti-Tutsi messages are being broadcast over the radio by the Voice of the Patriot, based in Bukavu, DRC. The messages say Tutsis are trying to take over the country and that Zaireans should unite with Hutus to eliminate the Tutsi threat.
Mar 14, 1998 Interahamwe rebels reportedly killed eight Tutsis in eastern Kibungo Prefecture. The killers withdrew to Tanzania across the Akagera River.
Mar 18, 1998 Amnesty International reported on a fact-finding mission its delegates undertook in Rwanda in February. It reports a steep rise in the number of disappearances taking place across the country, and alleges the massacre of hundreds of unarmed civilians in January-February. Most of the disappeared never resurface and were presumably killed. Incidents reported on include: on 11 January more than 300 people were killed by RPA soldiers during a military operation at Keya and surrounding areas in Gisenyi Prefecture; on 24 January, more than 120 people were killed by RPA soldiers in Nyabirehe in Ruhengeri Prefecture; on 5 February, 50-60 civilians were killed by armed opposition militias at Byahi in Gisenyi Prefecture; and on 19 January, forty people were killed in an attack on a bus by Hutu militiamen.
Apr 9, 1998 Tanzania reportedly established a refugee camp at Mbuba some 40km from the Burundi border. The refugees are mainly Interahamwe and ex-FAR soldiers. Hutu insurgents killed 26 civilians in Bulinga Commune, north of Gitarama town. After the killings, the rebels proceeded to burn down government buildings, then storm the local prison and release an unknown number of prisoners. Since February, about 3000 Hutu insurgents have renewed their attacks on Bulinga and other area communes.
Apr 10, 1998 Twenty-four people were killed in a massacre at Musambira Commune, 30 km southwest of Kigali. Most victims were killed with machetes or axes, and the government blamed the Interahamwe.
Apr 13, 1998 Reports have surfaced that French special forces helped to train the former Rwandan Armed Forces and militias responsible for the 1994 genocide. Training by elite troops of the French Foreign Legion took place between 1990-1993.
Apr 17, 1998 The RPA reportedly killed more than 70 Hutu militiamen in northern Gitarama. A military commander in the area said the rebels were part of a group of more than 100 Hutus who are thought to be behind an upsurge in killings in northwestern and central Rwanda. In the past two weeks, more than 190 people have been killed , and much of Rwanda is a no-go zone. Locals in the Gisenyi area have fled.
Apr 24, 1998 Rwanda executed four people convicted of crimes of genocide. There are currently over 130,000 people detained in prisons in the country. Since December 1996, only 300 have been tried, and 130 have been sentenced to death. No judgements have been issued to date at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
May 2, 1998 Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda entered a guilty plea to six charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha.
May 4, 1998 Suspected Hutu militiamen killed 10 people, including a mother and her six children, in Ruhengeri Prefecture in two separate incidents.
May 18, 1998 The Rwandan government gave a hostile reception to Kofi Annan as he visited Rwanda. The parliament expected Annan to apologize on behalf of the United Nations for not intervening to stop the 1994 genocide. Massacres in 1959, 1963, and 1973 were also ignored by the international body.
Jun 23, 1998 Seth Sendashonga, a liberal Hutu opposition leader living in Kenya was assassinated. Rwandan government agents were suspected, though the government blamed Hutu rivalry for his death. The assassination sent many exiled Hutus into hiding. Over 1 million Hutu refugees have returned to Rwanda since the end of 1996, but those in Kenya and Tanzania have stayed put.
Jun 24, 1998 Amnesty International released another report on the human rights situation in Rwanda. It reported that the conflict had worsened, that there is a steady flow of arms into the country, and that both the government and Hutu rebels deliberately kill civilians on a regular basis. The escalation of the conflict, including the killing and disappearance of civilians, began with the return of a million refugees from the former Zaire at the end of 1996. The violence is especially bad in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri in the northwest and Gitarama in Central Rwanda. In many cases, the armed rebels have been killing Hutus and Tutsis without distinction, targeting anyone suspected of collaborating with the government.
Jun 29, 1998 The government rejected the findings of a United National report on human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report implicated Kabila’s ADFL, the RPA, ex-FAR, and ex-Zairean armed forces in the killing of thousands of Rwandan refugees in eastern DRC.
Jun 17, 2004 Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, a mayor during the genocide, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a UN tribunal for his role in instructing Hutus to kill Tutsis. (Chhatbar, Sukhdev, 06/17/2004, “U.N. tribunal sentences former mayor to 30 years imprisonment,” Associated Press Worldstream)
Jul 28, 2004 In Brussels, Belgium, Ephrem Nkezabera, treasurer of the Interahamwe militant organization and a director of the Commercial Bank of Rwanda was arrested on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. (BBC Monitoring International Reports, 07/28/2004, “Key Rwandan genocide suspect arrested in Belgium”)
Dec 27, 2004 Rwandan Hutu fighters fought the DRC army in eastern DRC. Five Hutu fighters died in the fighting and six Congolese soldiers were wounded according to governmental sources. (Associated Press Worldstream, 12/27/2004, “Army soldiers clash with Rwandan Hutu fighters in eastern Congo”)
Mar 31, 2005 FDLR, or Interhamwe, announced that they are ready to disarm and denounce the Rwandan genocide. (Agence France Presse, 03/31/2005, “Rwandan Hutu FDLR rebels say they will abandon armed struggle”)
Apr 29, 2005 The UN Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania sentenced a Hutu Council leader, Mika Muhimana, to life imprisonment for his role in the genocide and for crimes against humanity, including rape. (The Independent, 04/29/2005, “Hutu Extremist Jailed for Life”)
Jun 28, 2005 Leon Mugesera, a Rwandan Hutu, arrested in Canada received a ruling from the Supreme Court calling for his deportation for his role in inciting the 1994 genocide in a 1992 public speech he gave. (Agence France Presse, 06/28/2005, “Canadian Supreme Court rules to deport Rwandan accused of genocide”)
Sep 2, 2005 A woman, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, is charged with inciting Hutu militia members to kill and rape Tutsi women. She is the first woman to face charges in front of the UN tribunal for genocide. (The Independent, 09/02/2005, “Woman Denies Genocide Charge”)
Sep 6, 2005 A Hutu general of FAR, Laurent Munyakazi, was arrested on charges of genocide and is to be tried in the gacaca. (Agence France Presse, 09/06/2005, “Un général de l'armée rwandaise arrêté par un tribunal gacaca")
Sep 19, 2005 Joseph, Serugendo, a director of the Libre des Milles Collines radio television show and founding member of the Interahamwe was arrested in Gabon and is to be transfered to Arusha to face charges of genocide in front of the UN tribunal. (Agence France Presse, 09/19/2005, “Rwandan suspected of genocide arrested in Gabon”)
Oct 20, 2005 Desire Munyaneza, a Rwandan Hutu, was arrested in Canada on charges pertaining to his involvement in the genocide. (The Toronto Sun, 10/20/2005, “Rwanda Atrocity Rap for T.O. Hutu”)
Apr 6, 2006 Anti-Rwanda protests carried out by Hutu extremists in Brussels, Belgium, sparked an apology to the Rwandan government from the Belgian Minister for Cooperation. (BBC Monitoring International Reports, 04/13/2006, “Rwanda Belgian Minister Apologises over Illegal Demo over Genocide”)
Apr 9, 2006 German authorities arrested a leader of the Rwandan FDLR, Ignace Murwanashyaka. He refused to be extradited back to the DRC where he faces charges of arms trafficking. (Agence France Presse, 04/10/2006, "Allemagne: un chef de la rebellion rwandaise hutu refuse d'être expulse”)
Nov 24, 2006 After a French Judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, issued a warrant for the arrest of nine Rwandans associated with President Kagame for their alleged roll in the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, Rwanda recalled its ambassador. (England, Andrew, 11/25/2006, “Warrants prompt Rwanda to recall envoy,” Financial Times (London, England))


© 2004 - 2023 • Minorities At Risk Project

Information current as of July 16, 2010