Patron: The Rt. Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool.

A brief history of Rwanda

Colonial period and freedom

Under development


Genocide - 100 days in 1994.

In the evening of April 6th 1994 an aircraft carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi from a peace conference in Arusha approached Kigali airport. As it approached the plane was shot down. Within an hour roadblocks were going up across Kigali - the genocide had started. In the next 100 days many people would die because they were Tutsi or because they opposed the killing. The official death toll is 800,000 but others put the true figure at close on 1,200,000.

Signpost to a genocide memorial near a church in KibuyeThe Rwandan Patriotic Front was an army formed by exiled Tutsis in Uganda. They were led by Paul Kagame, who is now Rwanda's president. They came south from Uganda and stopped the killing.

The traveller in Rwanda will come across memorials to thousands of dead, memorials like the one in Kibuye, pictured. Also some genocide sites have the remains of the victims left where they fell - no one will say it didn't happen. In Kigali there is the National Genocide Memorial where the remains 250,000 people are interred.

After genocide.

Interahamwe militias, driven from Rwanda, took refuge in Congo. In the north of Rwanda they would make regular incursions into Rwanda and it was quite dangerous around Shyira until late 1999.

By 2001 the Rwandan Government had established a rehabilitation centre and was trying to attract the militia members back to their communities. Some returned but many are still in Congo where they are causing trouble.

Rwanda is now a peaceful country. The identity cards previously used to divide people have been abandoned and everyone identifies themselves as Rwandan. There is a determination that the events of the past are not repeated.

The people of Rwanda are welcoming of the visitor - it is difficult to imagine the horrors that many people have seen.