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France & U.S. Role in Rwanda Genocide

27 March 2011

Rwanda is an African Christian country. According to the report by the Rwandan government on November 1, 2006, 56.5% of the Rwanda's population is Roman Catholic, 26% is Protestant, 11.1% is Seventh-day Adventist, which means 93.6% Rwandans are Christians. Rwanda is also home to the most horrific ethnic genocide since the WWII, with the both sides of the conflict being Christians.


When the Roman Catholic missionaries came to Rwanda in the late 1880s, they contributed to the "Hamitic" theory of race origins, which taught that the Tutsi were a superior race. The Church has been considered to have played a significant role in fomenting racial divisions between Hutu and Tutsi, in part because they found more willing converts among the majority Hutu. In fact, the division of Tutsi and Hutu is rather artificial, chiefly based on economical and social circumstances.


In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Ugandain with an attempt to defeat the Hutu-led government. It is the beginning of the Rwandan Civil War, supported by Francophone nations of Africa and France


The assassination of Hutu president Habyarimana in April 1994 set off a violent reaction, resulting in the Hutus' conducting mass killings of Tutsis


Prior to the war, the U.S. government had aligned itself with Tutsi interests, in turn raising Hutu concerns about potential U.S. support to the opposition. Paul Kagame, a Tutsi officer in exile in Uganda who had co-founded the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1986 and was in open conflict with the incumbent Rwandan government, was invited to receive military training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, home of the Command and General Staff College. In October 1990, while Kagame was at Fort Leavenworth, the RPF started an invasion of Rwanda. Only two days into the invasion, his close friend and RPF co-founder Fred Rwigema was killed, upon which the U.S. arranged the return of Kagame to Uganda from where he became the military commander of the RPF. An article in the Washington Post of August 16, 1997, authored by its Southern African bureau chief Lynne Duke, indicates that the connection continued as RPF elements received counterinsurgency and combat training from U.S. Special Forces.


More at Religion in Rwanda, Rwanda Genocide

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