Rwanda Genocide Timeline
Timeline Description: Over the course of 100 days in 1994, over 800,000 Rwandans were killed. It is called genocide because it was the intentional mass murder of people belonging to one particular group. The murders occurred because of tension between the African ethnic groups, the Tutsis and the Hutus. Most of the people killed were Tutsis and it was a group of rebels led by the Tutsis that stopped the killings.

Date Event
April 6, 1994 President Juvenal Habyarimana is murdered.

As the plane carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana and the president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, is getting ready to land in Kigali, Rwanda, it is shot down. Many people believe that Hutus were responsible for the shooting.
April 7, 1994 The genocide begins.

Armed forces from Rwanda and a Hutu militia called Interahamwe begin the mass murder of Tutsis, as well as Hutus who sympathize with Tutsis. Ten United Nations peacekeepers from Belgium are also killed.
April 8, 1994 The Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front tries to end killings.

A group of Tutsi rebels called the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) tries to rescue its troops and end the killings. The RPF had first formed in 1988.
April 11, 1994 The Red Cross states that tens of thousands of people have been murdered.

Less than a week after the murders begin, already tens of thousands of Rwandans are dead. About 2,000 of them are killed after United Nations soldiers are removed from a school that they are protecting.
April 15, 1994 20,000 people are murdered at the Nyarubuye church.

Approximately 20,000 people seek refuge from the murders at the Nyarubuye Roman Catholic Church. Most are killed by attackers carrying spears, hatchets, knives, and automatic rifles.
April 21, 1994 The United Nations removes most of its troops.

Only 270 United Nations soldiers are left in Rwanda after the UN removes 90 percent of its troops. The UN is afraid that its peacekeepers will be killed.
April 30, 1994 Rwandan refugees flee to nearby areas.

As the mass killings continue, tens of thousands of people from Rwanda try to escape. Most go to nearby Zaire, Burundi, and Tanzania.
May 1994 A half of a million Rwandans are murdered.

With no help from other countries, Tutsis continue to be murdered. By the middle of the month of May, the Red Cross states that nearly a half of a million people have been killed.
May 17, 1994 The UN says that genocide may be happening in Rwanda.

Reluctant before now to say that the killings in Rwanda are genocide, the UN now agrees that the murders could be genocide. It plans to send in 5,500 new troops to help, but the United States and the UN cannot agree on how to pay for it and sending the troops is delayed.
May 22, 1994 The RPF takes control of parts of Rwanda.

The RPF makes progress in fighting back the attackers and takes control of the airport in Kigali. It also gains control of some parts of Rwanda in the north and the east.
June 22, 1994 Operation Turquoise begins.

The UN sends 2,500 French troops to Rwanda to create a safe zone. The action, called Operation Turquoise, is not successful as Tutsis continue to be killed in the safe zone.
July 4, 1994 The RPF gains control of Kigali.

The capital city of Kigali comes under control of the RPF. The leaders of the RPF say that they will form a new government.
July 13, 1994 Thousands of Rwandan refugees go to Zaire.

Every hour, over 10,000 refugees from Rwanda go into Zaire, looking for safety. There are so many people crossing the border that there is not enough food, water, or shelter for everybody.
July 18, 1994 The genocide ends.

The RPF says that it has taken control and the war is over. Pastor Bizimungu is named president and Faustin Twagiramungu is the new prime minister.
April 2000 The UN admits it could have done more to stop the killings.

The United Nations Security Council announces that it did not do enough to prevent the genocide in Rwanda 16 years ago. It compares the genocide in Rwanda to the Holocaust in Germany in the 1940s.