The Genocide in Rwanda

The technical college in Murambi, Rwanda, where in April of 1994 at the advice of the mayor about 40,000 Tutsis took shelter. Armed only with machetes the Hutu extremists in short four days slaughtered all the refugees.  

April 6, 1994

Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira are killed when Habyarimana’s plane is shot down near Kigali airport. The Rwandan president was about to implement the Arusha peace accords. The killings begin that night.

The Rwandan armed forces (FAR) and Hutu militia set up roadblocks and go from house to house killing Tutsis and moderate Hutu politicians. Thousands die on the first day. Some UN camps shelter civilians but most of the UN peacekeepers (UNAMIR-United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) stand by while the slaughter goes on. They are forbidden to intervene as this would breach their “monitoring” mandate.

On April 10, 1994, as Hutu extremists began slaughtering their minority Tutsi neighbors across Rwanda, the Hutu mayor of the Murambi region promised his Tutsi neighbors protection if they gathered at the technical college. Some forty thousand of them rushed there for shelter. The mayor arrived accompanied by the extremist Interhamwe militia. Over the course of the next four days they herded the terrified Tutsi into the classrooms and slaughtered them.  The bodies of the dead were thrown into pits and covered with lime. Somehow the lime preserved those bodies.

Today scores of those bodies are laid out on tables in the rooms were they died. They are frozen in the last desperate moments of their agony, hands pleading, heads cradled by arms, skulls cracked open by merciless machetes. There is a children’s room where tiny skeletons bear the same silent testimony to the horror. In one of the cruelest ironies the lime has turned the skins of the victims alabaster white, a skin tone that would no doubt have saved their lives.

Terry George
Co-Producer, Writer and Director, “Hotel Rwanda”

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