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Nightmare of Rwandans

‘‘ My name is Severa, my husband was a Hutu. He was murdered because he was married with a Tutsi. I got brutally raped by the militia while I heard the deadly screaming of my 4 children, they were begging me to save them, but I could not do anything-they got killed. They threw me into the river to drown me but I survived. Only a few later, I was caught by another group and then another- three times I got group raped and thrown into the river. But I survived ”. It`s a story of Severa (50), there are thousands of “ Severa stories ” in Rwanda.

The root of tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Rwanda lays in the late 19th century, when first Germany and then Belgium moved in utilizing the classic strategy of "divide and rule”. Identity cards were introduced by the colonizer and provided crucial assistance to the architects of genocide as they sought to isolate their Tutsi victims.

The spark of the carnage was the death of Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, on 6 April 1994 as their plane was shot down attempting to land in Kigali on there return from peace talks in Tanzania. Whoever was responsible, the event unleashed one of the 20th century`s worst explosions of blood-letting. The massacres that followed were no spontaneous outburst of violence but a calculated “ final solution ” by extremist elements of Habyarimana`s government to rid the country of all Tutsi and the Hutu reformists. Rwandan army and militia death squads ranged at will over the countryside killing, raping, looting, burning and roadblocks were setup in every town and city. This left 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu dead and sent as many into exile.

This genocide was the largest organized killing of human beings in the shortest period of time in modern history. The trauma of the genocide is still palpable everywhere, even 20 years later. Many of the woman victims are living with HIV/aids or got children beget by their rapist. Those children are often suffering from severe identity crisis or psychological problems. But these mothers are strong, despite all the suffering and humiliation they went through; they have been able to carry on with their lives. Reconciliation made it possible that both Hutus and Tutsis are living peacefully together now.

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All photograph right reserved by Naymuzzaman Prince.