Rwanda is a land of great diversity and beauty. Popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda has six volcanoes, twenty-three lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of the great River Nile.


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GENOCIDE


The first massacres in Rwanda took place in 1959. Thereafter, almost in a regular manner, killings of the Batutsi became a habit. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s massacres of Batutsi were common. Between April and July 1994, over 1 million Rwandese people, mainly Batutsi and some Bahutu opposition were killed by the genocidal regime. So many people were involved in the killings. Those who planned and organised the genocide include the late President, Major General Juvenal Habyarimana, top government officials, including members of the so-called Provisional Government, the presidential Guard, the National Gendarmerie, the Rwanda Government Forces (FAR), the MRND-CDR militia (Interahamwe), local officials, and many Bahutu in the general population.
Preparation to carry out genocide by these groups involved the training of the militia, the arming of both the militia and some sections of the population, the establishment and widespread use of a hate radio called Radio television Libre de Mille Collines (RTLM), and the distribution of lists of those who were to be targeted. Repeatedly, these groups prevented the establishment of the Arusha Peace Accords.
When the genocide began, the United Nations had a peacekeeping force - the United Nations Assistance for Rwanda (UNAMIR) - in Rwanda of about 2500 troops. The first reaction of the United Nations, and indeed of other nations that had their own nationals in Rwanda, was to withdraw their troops and their nationals respectively. Under the circumstances the RPF had to fight again in order to stop the genocide.

THE FALL OF THE GENOCIDAL REGIME
On July 4th, 1994, the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali, fell to the forces of the Rwandese Patriotic Army(RPA), the armed wing of the RPF. The members of the so-called Provisional Government, the armed groups, and many people who were involved in genocide, fled mainly to the DRC and Tanzania. Over 3 million refugees fled to Tanzania and the DRC. On July 19th, 1994, RPF established the Government of National Unity with four other political parties. These parties are the Liberal Party (PL), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), and the Republican Democratic Movement (MDR).
Weeks later, the National Assembly was formed. Members were nominated by the RPF, the four above-mentioned parties plus three other smaller parties, namely, the Islamic Party (PDI), the Socialist Party (PSR), and the Democratic Union for Rwandese People (UDPR). In this parliament of 70 seats, the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) has 6 representatives.

HIGHLIGHTS OF RWANDA'S RECENT HISTORY

1884
The Berlin Conference is held on the division of Africa between Europen Nations.

1894
The German captain, von Gotzen, is recieved by the Rwandan monarch, King Kigeli IV Rwabugili.

1895
Rwanda becomes part of German East Africa along with Burundi and Tangayika.

1896
King Mibambwe IV Rutalindwa is succeeded by King Musinga Yuhi V in the famous "coup d'etat" of Rucuncu

1900
King Musinga recieves the first group of European Catholic missionaries, known as the "White Fathers" or "Peres Blancs".

1917
After the defeat of the Germans in WW1, belgium establishes a political system of indirect administration with the King, effectively working under the Belgian President.

1923
Belgium officially wins the League of Nations mandate to administer both Rwanda and Burundi under the name of Rwanda-Urundi. Later, in 1925, Rwanda-Urundi becomes an integral part of the belgian Colony Government under the name Rwanda-Urundi and Belgian Congo.

1931
Belgium forces King Musinga to abdicate his throne, who is then exiled to Kamembe (current prefecture of Cyangugu), near the Rwanda-DRC border. His son, king Rudahigwa Mutara II, succeeds him.

1935
The Belgian Colonial Administration issues, for the first time, identification that clearly categorised people as "Hutu", "Tutsi" and "Twa" on the basis of the number of heads of cattle they owned. Those with ten or more cows were categorised as "Tutsi", while those with less were categorised as "Hutu".

1943
King Rudahigwa becomes the first Rwandan Monarch to become christianised.
In the same year, belgium initiates a series of administrative reforms that eliminated local chieftains who were mostly Bahutu and replaces them with chiefs directly appointed by the King, and who were Batutsi.

1946
Rwanda becomes a United Nations trustee territory.

1952
King Rudahigwa agrees with the requirement by the United Nations, through the colonial administration, to increase the number of Bahutu representatives at all levels of the Rwanda administration.

1954
King Rudahigwa abolishes "Ubuhake" a clientele system of servitude that was common in monarchical Rwanda.

1955
Belgium appoints J.P. Harroy as the Governor of Rwanda-Urundi.

1954
King Rudahigwa demands total independence and an end to Belgian colonial occupation. In the same year, the Vatican appoints Mgr. Perraudin, a swiss, as the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Rwanda.

1957
Under the ideological patronage of J.P. Harroy and Mgr. Perraudin, Gregoire Kayibanda, a Muhutu catechist, publishes the "Hutu Manifesto" demanding the political authority be granted to the Bahutu majority. The Catholic Church encourages Gregoire Kayibanda and his associates to form political parties, namely; APROSOMA (L'Association pour la Promotion Sociale des Masses) and RADER (Le Rassemblement Democratique Rwandais), to champion "Bahutu interests".

1959
At a time of strained relationship between the monarch and the Belgian authorities, King Rudahigwa dies mysteriously in Bujumbura, Burundi. Most Rwandese people believe there was Belgian involvement in his death.
King Rudahigwa is succeeded by his half brother who becomes King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa.
UNAR (Union Nationale Rwandaise) political party is formed by the proponents of immediate independence under the Rwandan monarchy. PARMEHUTU (Le Parti du Mouvement de l'emancipation Hutu) is established under the guidance of the Catholic church by the proponents of delayed independence. PARMEHUTU was also openly sectarian and anti-Batutsi.
A Belgian Colonel, G. Logiest, with Belgian Commandos, organises some Bahutu tp kill thousands of Batutsi and send hundreds of thousands of others into exile, mainly in the DRC, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. King Kigeli V is forced into exile.

1960
The Belgian Colonial Administration hastily manipulates communal elections, which were "overwhelmingly won" by PARMEHUTU under Gregoire Kayibanda, who becomes Prime Minister of the provisional government then formed.

1961
The Belgian Colonial Administration, in conditions of terror, organises a referendum on the monarchy under the auspices of the United Nations.

Belgium declares the end of the monarchy and Gregoire Kayibanda becomes the President and prime minister of the new republic. More exodus of Batutsi from Rwanda to neighbouring countries. Massacres of Batutsi continue.

1962
Belgium officially grants independence to Rwanda and gregoire Kayibanda becomes the President of the First Republic.

1963
Some Batutsi exiles - "inyenzi" - launch futile attacks against the Kigali regime. More massacres of Batutsi take place in Rwanda.

1965
Gregoire Kayibanda is re-elected President and Juvenal Habyarimana is appointed Minister of Defence.

1969
PARMEHUTU is renamed MDR (Mouvement Democratique Republicaine), "wins" elections and Gregoire Kayibanda is "re-elected" President.

1973
Major general Juvenal Habyarimana topples Gregoire Kayibanda in a military "coup d'etat". Massacres of Batutsi take place.

1975
Major General Juvenal Habyarimana establishes MRND (Mouvement Revolutionaire et National pour le Developpment). As in the First Republic, political parties are banned in the Second Republic. Widespread massacres of Batutsi take place.

1978
Major General Juvenal Habyarimana introduces a "new constitution" entrenching MRND as the sole political party.

1979
RANU (Rwandese Alliance for National unity) is established by a group of Rwandese exiles in Kenya. The objective of RANU was to find a solution for the problem of Rwandese refugees and to struggle against dictatorship in Rwanda.

1982/83
Several thousands of Rwandese refugees and Ugandans of Rwandese origin are expelled from Uganda to Rwanda by the dictatorial regime of Milton Obote. The then Kigali regime refuses entry to some, detains others in camps within rwanda, while others are killed.

1987
RANU becomes RPF (Rwandese Patriotic Front).

1990
RPF begins armed struggle.

1991
The N'sele Ceasefire Agreement is signed between RPF and the then Government of Rwanda.

1993
From 1990 to 1993 widespread massacres of batutsi take place notably in Kibirira, Bigogwe, Bugesera, Kibuye etc. In December 1993, RPF sends a contingent of 600 troops to kigali as part of the Arusha Peace Agreement.

1994
April - President Habyarimana dies in a plane crash.
Genocide begins.
RPF launches the final campaign to stop the genocide.
July - the genocidal regime collapses and RPF captures Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
RPF establishes the Government of National Unity together with seven other political parties.

1996/1997
The Government of Rwanda passes the law for the trial and punishment of those responsible for genocide in Rwanda.

Rwanda gets involved in the first DRC war to liberate and repatriate Rwandese refugees held hostage by ex-FAR and Interahamwe. (Rwanda's involvement in the DRC leads to President Mobutu's removal and the installation of Laurent Kabila as President of the DRC.) The Government of Rwanda repatriates over 2 million Rwandese refugees from the DRC and Tanzania.

1998
Rwanda gets involved in the second DRC war to deal with insecurity caused by the ex-FAR and Interahamwe (DRC Government supports ex-FAR and Interahamwe).

1999
Local elections take place at cellule and secteur levels. The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, to end the second DRC war, is signed.

2000
March - President Pasteur Bizimungu resigns

April - Major General Paul Kagame is sworn in as the fifth President of Rwanda.

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