In Rwanda, the majority of the population belongs to the agriculturist Hutu tribe, but historically power has rested with the pastoralist Tutsis. Fighting broke out between the predominantly Hutu-Rwandese Armed Forces and the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) across the Ugandan border. In 1990 cease-fires were arranged, however warfare resumed in early 1993 while OAU (Organisation for African Unity) and Tanzanian sponsored negotiations were in progress between the combatants. Rwanda and Uganda addressed the Security Council and a UN Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR) was deployed. In October, the Council authorised the establishment of a UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) which was to work towards the secure installation and subsequent operation of a transitional government. It would provide for repatriation of about 900,000 Rwandese refugees and displaced persons.
On 6 April 1994, the President of Rwanda (a Hutu) was killed in a missile attack on his aircraft. This led to the murder of the Prime Minister who was a Tutsi. Thereupon, an organised massacre of the minority Tutsi community and moderate Hutus started. At this time, the UN had about 2500 personnel in Kigali but the force had neither the mandate, the numbers, nor the equipment to quell what amounted to a sudden nation-wide explosion of internecine violence which saw a mass exodus and the killing of more than 250,000 people. The UN Secretary General recommended the induction of 5500 UN troops. This was opposed by the US due to high cost. Sadly, 184 nations of the UN failed to generate a timely response to a call to the international community to send troops & supplies. The UN Secretary General said, "I have failed...it is a scandal."
After some more effort, 5500 troops from India, Ghana, Ethiopia and Senegal reached Kigali in end 1994. India sent a battalion (1/3 Gorkha Rifles) and some engineers & signallers totaling 925 all ranks which included 20 military observers and nine staff officers. Subsequently other countries and the US also contributed. The 1/3 Gorkha Rifles assisted in the move of over 70.000 internally displaced persons as also the movement of about 7000 prisoners to other areas, it looked after eight orphanages, several schools and gave much needed medical assistance to the locals. Both the signal and engineer companies earned high praise for their devoted service.
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