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Rwandan Civil War
Rwandan Civil War
Date: 1 October 1990-18 July 1994
Place: Rwanda
Outcome: RPF victory

RPF Rwandan Patriotic Front

Flag of Rwanda 2 Rwanda
Interahamwe Interahamwe
Impuzamugambi Impuzamugambi
Flag of Zaire Zaire (until 1991)
Flag of France 2 France


RPF Fred Rwigyema
RPF Paul Kagame

Flag of Rwanda 2 Juvenal Habyarimana
Flag of Rwanda 2 Theoneste Bagosora
Flag of Rwanda 2 Augustin Bizimungu

The Rwandan Civil War (1 October 1990-18 July 1994) was a conflict in the African republic of Rwanda between the Hutu-ruled Rwandan government and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The civil war had its roots in the Rwandan Revolution of 1959-1961, during which the Hutu majority of Rwanda persecuted the Tutsi minority, which had ruled Rwanda and oppressed Hutus for centuries; the Hutus saw the Tutsis as "collaborators" with Belgium. 100,000 Tutsis were forced to become refugees as a result of the revolution, and many fled to Uganda. Two refugees - Fred Rwigyema and Paul Kagame - served as officers in the Ugandan army under Yoweri Museveni during the Ugandan Bush War, gaining vital combat experience. During the 1980s, relations between the Ugandan government and the Tutsi refugees soured, and the right-wing Rwandan government refused to allow for the Tutsi refugees to return home. The refugees decided to return home by force, forming the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

In October 1990, the RPF launched a cross-border invasion of Rwanda from Uganda with 20,000 fighters, and Rwigyema was killed on the second day, leaving Kagame as the new RPF leader. The French Army sent troops to support the Hutu government of Juvenal Habyarimana, and the 35,000-strong Rwandan army and the French troops defeated the RPF by the end of the month. The RPF withdrew to the Virunga mountains before restarting the war, starting a hit-and-run guerrilla war. In mid-1992, President Habyarimana decided to begin peace negotiations, creating a token multi-party democracy and engaging in talks with the rebels. In 1993, however, hardliners began to massacre Tutsis, prompting the RPF to launch an offensive on the capital of Kigali. In August 1993, the Arusha Accords led to the RPF being deployed to Kigali and United Nations peacekeepers arriving, but hardliners gained power at the time of the truce and began plotting a "final solution" to the Tutsi question. On 6 April 1994, President Habyarimana's plane was shot down, with the RPF and the Hutu extremists blaming each other. The Hutu Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias began the "Rwandan Genocide", massacring 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus; 70% of the Tutsi population was killed. The RPF encircled cities and cut off supply routes, and the RPF besieged Kigali in June, despite UN pleas to stop the fighting; the UN only evacuated foreigners, and they refused to assist the victims of the genocide. On 4 July 1994, Kigali fell to the RPF, and the Hutu interim government was forced into exile in Zaire. The genocide and the war ended with the RPF victory, and the RPF oversaw reconciliation between Hutus and Tutsis and rebuilt Rwanda; nevertheless, 2,000,000 Hutus went into exile in Zaire, leading to the outbreak of the First Congo War between Hutu militias and the Rwandan armed forces in 1996.

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