“Then they started killing, hacking with their machetes. They kept doing it, and I was hiding under dead people. They didn’t kill me. Because of the blood covering me, they thought they had killed me. I hid in a small room. That’s where I stayed and slept for 43 days.” – Valentina Iribagiza, Survivor of the massacre at a church in Nyarubuye, Rwanda.
On April 6, 1994, the private jet of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down during take-off. Habyraimana, as well as Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira, were both killed in crash.
Habyarimana, while Army Chief of Staff, came to rule by staging a coup in 1973, ousting then president Kayibanda. Once in power, he kept with dictatorial tradition and established a single, ruling party system, which averaged 99% of the vote during the 3 elections fabricated during his reign.
Throughout its history Rwanda has suffered the same tribal unrest as most of Africa (and still does), the prominent fighting occurring between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi (also known as Watutsi) minority. As is usually the case in such Hatfield & McCoy situations, no one seems to remember how it all started. Genetically, the Hutu and Tutsi are identical, all decedents of the Banyarwanda. And the historical differences seem to revolve around rumors and fables backed by no real proof. The Belgians actually invoked the most sophisticated of scientific methods, choosing to identify each group by height and cattle ownership – which puts in perspective the ridiculousness of it all.