a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


First Rwanda Civil War

Years: 1963-1964
Battle deaths: 1,000 [1]
Onesided violence: 20,000 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2018-07-27 02:13:23

Rwanda became formally independent on 1 July 1962 under a republican transitional government with the Grégoire Kayibanda, the founder of the Hutu "emancipation" movement PARMEHUTU as prime minister. The Rwandan king (Mwami) had died in 1959 and his successor, Kigeli V, went into exile in the face of the turmoil during the transition to independence. The monarchy was abolished and Rwanda became a republic. Kayibanda became its first elected president.

The widespread massacres on the Tutsis during Rwanda's “Social Revolution” in 1959-61 had driven most of the Tutsi elites into exile in neighbouring Burundi, Congo and Uganda. While some of the more left-leaning factions supported the new government in Kigali others were prepared to regroup in exile and launch an military offensive to topple Kayibandas regime and regain power.

Despite being poorly organised and equipped, a force consisting mainly of Tutsi exiles attacked Rwanda in December 1963 from Burundi. It invaded Bugesera and came close to Kigali before the offensive was beaten back. The government seized the opportunity to launch a massive wave of repression against the Tutsi population slaughtering thousands of civilians and politicians between December 1963 to January 1964. All the Tutsi politicians that had survived the massacres of the Social Revolution of 1959-1961 and remained in the country were executed.[1]

In the wake of the invasion Kayibanda strengthened his grip on power effectively turning Rwanda into a one-party state.



Rwanda Crisis 1954-94: History of a Genocide , pp. 54-57, by Gérard Prunier, 1999


[1]    books.google.se/books?id=6hwCdeYHZKcC Rwanda Crisis 1954-94: History of a Genocide, pp. 54-57, by Gérard Prunier, 1999


[2] Matthew White, http://necrometrics.com/20c1m.htm#Rwanda
Low: 10,000 High: 100,000

Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: Correlates of War, Intra-State War Data v4.1 (id 761)

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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