Rwanda: Hutu Factionalism Prolongs Violence

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October 6, 2007: For the last two months, Congo and the UN have been accusing Rwanda of arming a Tutsi militia inside Congo, near the Rwanda border. While Rwanda denied supplying arms to the Congo Tutsis, there were more calls for Congo to do something about the Rwandan Hutu militias, that formed from those who fled Rwanda after the 1994 attempt to kill all Tutsi in Rwanda. Of late, the war of words has escalated, with Rwanda media talking about another invasion of eastern Congo by Rwandan troops, to deal with the Hutu guerillas once and for all. It was such an invasion in the 1990s that led to the downfall of the decades old Mobutu dictatorship, and a civil war that has killed millions.

September 9, 2007: In northwest Burundi, fighting between rival factions of the last rebel group, the FNL, left at least twenty dead, and caused over 4,000 civilians to flee the violence. The FNL signed a peace deal with the government a year ago, but disputes within the FNL have prevented the rebels from actually disarming and accepting amnesty. Violence caused by the civil war within the Hutu FNL, and bandits spawned by the various rebel groups, killed about 150 people over the Summer. Not quite peace, more like a crime wave driven by political and ethnic differences. Both Burundi and Rwanda have a centuries old conflict between the Hutu majority, and the better organized Tutsi minority. Tutsi tribes live on both sides of the Congo border with Rwanda and Burundi, and these tribes stick together whenever any Tutsi are threatened.

 

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