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 In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front

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Join date : 2010-09-12

PostSubject: In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front   Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:32 am

In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda, initiating the Rwandan Civil War.[36] The Rwandan government, supported by troops from France,[37] was initially successful in suppressing the rebels, but the RPF grew in strength and by 1992 a stalemate had developed.[38] Despite continuing ethnic strife, including Hutu displacement in the north and periodic localised extermination of Tutsi in the south, the two sides agreed a cease-fire in 1993 and negotiated a peace settlement in Arusha, Tanzania.[39] This cease-fire ended on 6 April 1994 when Habyarimana's plane was shot down near Kigali Airport, killing the president and his Burundian counterpart. It is still unknown who launched the attack, with each side blaming the other.[40] The shooting down of the plane served as the catalyst for the Rwandan Genocide, which began within a few hours. Over the course of approximately 100 days, between 500,000 and 1,000,000[41] Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu were killed in apparently well-planned attacks, on the orders of the interim government.[42] The Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, and took control of the country methodically, cutting off government supply routes and taking advantage of the deteriorating social order.[43] The international response was limited, with major powers reluctant to strengthen the already overstretched UN peacekeeping force.[44] The RPF took control of Kigali on 4 July and the whole country by 18 July 1994. A transitional government was sworn in with Pasteur Bizimungu as president.[45]

The new regime faced immediate problems, with approximately two million Hutus having fled to neighbouring countries, in particular Zaire, fearing RPF reprisals for the genocide.[46] Thousands of these died in epidemics of diseases common to refugee camps, such as cholera.[47] The Rwandan army launched a series of attacks on the camps in 1996, retaliating to crossborder shelling by militia from the camps.[48] Following these attacks most refugees returned to Rwanda.[49] A period of reconciliation and justice began[when?], with the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the reintroduction of a traditional village court system known as Gacaca.[50] During the 2000s the government replaced the flag, anthem and constitution, re-drew the local authority boundaries and the country joined the East African Community and the Commonwealth.[51][52] Rwanda's economy and tourist numbers grew rapidly during this period.[53]

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