The same day, after the assassination of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimiana, on April 6, 1994, a hundred fanatic Hutu supporters of the president begin setting up roadblocks in the streets of Kigali, the capital, and other major cities. The fanatics are paramilitaries of Habyarimiana's militia, established to embody Hutu nationalist spirit in reaction to the presence of Tutsis in their country. Filled with alcohol and hatred against the Tutsi and dissident Hutus, the men begin massacres with machine guns and machetes against anyone whose identity card indicates their undesireable ethnicity or a family connection with political opponents. Their actions spread panic through the Tutsi population, which must hide to save its life. In the town of Nyarubuye, not far from Kigali, a small delegation of Tutsi, allarmed, turns to their mayor, Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, to ask for aid and protection from the bands of assassins sweeping through the area. The mayor refuses, advising them to seek refuge in the local church and to be patient. A few days later, a group of armed men park their jeeps outside the church and attack with grenades the men, women, and children huddled inside. Hours later the militia bursts into the church and finishes off the screaming survivors with machetes, writing in blood one of the darkest pages in the history of the Rwandan genocide. Eight years later, the leader of the Nyarubuye massacre is arrested in Tanzania and led to Arusha for trial. The massacre in Nyarubuye is one of the blackest pages in the history of the Rwandan genocide. Twenty thousand Tutsi slaughtered by bullets, grenades, and the machetes of Hutus from Interahamwe led by the town's mayor, Sylvestre Gacumbitsi. Ten years after the mass killing that exterminated 800,000 Tutsis and dissident Hutus, the International Penal Tribunal of Arusha condemned Gacumbitsi to thirty years in prison. A victory for the families of the victims, and for Fergal Keane, the BBC journalist who began hunting Gacumbitsi immediately after the massacre, among the refugee camps in Tanzania.
Photo credits: Antonella865.