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Background to the Rwandan Genocide

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Background to the Rwandan Genocide


Genocide -- Rwanda.


Oral history video clip featuring Alexandre Kimenyi a professor at California State University, Sacramento. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Kimenyi, Alexandre


Tape number: 4076I


video / mp4




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Mallory, Sue


Kimenyi, Alexandre


California State University


Yeah, I think so. Maybe. What saddens me the most of genocide, as I’ve told you, the Arusha peace agreement had just been signed in Tanzania, Arusha. Most of us in the Rwandan diaspora were very much upset because it meant that we were going back. Some of us had borrowed money for plane tickets because there was going to be a big family reunion. Some people were supposed to be in Rwanda in June 1994, because the peace accord has been signed in the month of August, 1993. Most of the people in the diaspora were ready to go back. Unfortunately, that’s when the genocide took place, in April of 1994. Again, many people cannot understand how, systematic how, prepared this genocide was, because previously, before 1994, there had been many Tutsi exodus in the neighboring countries because there was a massacre in 1959. There was a massacre in 1961, a massacre in 1963, a massacre in 1966, and 1973. As I told you at the beginning, I thought that even though people have been killed, still some people were able to hide, who were able to flee. But I found that it was not the case, that again, as I said, 95 percent of the people had been killed. So the reason it was possible was because, first of all, the government sealed the borders. People could not cross the borders. The other reason is because of the road blocks all over; at least every quarter of a mile, there was a road block set by militias and the military to identify people walking or driving, whether they are Hutus or Tutsis and so on. And the reason why all those people were killed, again, it was because they were killing many, many in groups, such as churches and soccer stadiums. Rwanda is heavy Catholic. Most people happen to be Christians. And in the previous massacres, people who fled to churches were saved, because churches were considered as holy places and people knew not to kill someone in a church; it was a big crime, you’ll go to hell and so on. This time, it just happened that many priests and bishops conspired with the government to lure the people into churches. So most of the people, instead of going someplace else, they went into churches. From those churches, it was then easier for the militia and the government troops to kill those people, because they used hand grenades to kill many people at the same time. Other people also were killed in soccer stadiums. Again, it was a ruse that the military used. They told people that, for them to protect them, they have to be in the stadiums, where soldiers will be there to protect them against the militias. But it was not the case, because those who went to the soccer stadiums were killed as well. So the reason why many people were killed, it was indeed because they killed in churches or soccer stadiums. Others were, again, buried in the mass graves. Some of them were buried alive and so on. So, all those factors explain why that many people were killed within only three months. So, more than a million people were killed in three months, because they killed in those churches, stadiums, and buried alive as well.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Background to the Rwandan Genocide,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed September 30, 2020,