Rwandan Civil War - Conflict Analysis and Resolution Case Study

Rwandan Civil War – Conflict Analysis and Resolution Case Study

by Peter Barnes


Throughout that white collar of twentieth century, a large portion of the provincial nations got their freedom from those Europeans. Europeans left behind some major problems for the local people to deal with in their own country. In that context Rwanda is one of the classic examples of prolonged victims of colonial misgovernment. In year 1994, world attention was focused towards Rwanda due to the genocide which took place among the two major tribes.  Within a hundred days, nearly 1,000,000 people were killed in well planned attacks. The extremist took the current tragic situation to the next level by these planned attacks and prime cause for the insurgency was set in well before.

Rwanda is a landlocked nation which will be arranged in the national / eastern Africa.  It was categorized as a one of the densely populated countries with 10,000 square mile of area and approximately 7.5 million people. Unlike other African countries, Rwanda has a single unifying language and culture.  However there are a few social categories. Huture presented the majority and Tutsi was the minority. Once Rwanda was a German colony.  During the World War II Belgium took control of Rwanda and Burundi.  Both the colonial masters supported the Tutsis. With the introduction of the ethnic identity cards by the Belgium, tension between the majority tribe as well as the minority tribe increased. Tension escalated between the Tutsi and Hutu. Hutu insurgent activities began by killing Tutsis, forcing more than 1,00,000 to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Eventually, these vicious strike prompted the sad genocide which might have been lead by those state military Previously, april 1994.

Tusti formed an armed underscore so-called Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), after heavy losses.  Genocide was ended by July 1994, when the government was defeated by the RPA. Accordingly, Hutu significance and militia fled to neighboring Zaire and Tanzania and restarted an agitate against strange volatile camps in eastern Zaire against the newly established RPF government. With that back drop, it is required to identify what are the motives to create such devastation within a very short period of time and reasons for further expansion.


We can understand the factors that have caused the civil war and genocide due to history and geography of the country. Despite the ethnic undertones of the conflict, economics plays a critical role in the violent history of post-independence Rwanda, a standout amongst those practically thickly populated and poorest nations in Africa. It is a small country with approximately 7.5 million people and about 10,000 square miles of area.

Rwanda has a single unifying language (Kinyarwanda) and culture. However, there are many social categories in Rwanda namely: Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, as well as narrower identities of region, clan, and lineage. The reason behind the classifications has been the source of great violence, including genocide, just prior to and since independence in 1962.

With those acquaintance of the identity cards, any individual considering ten or additional leader of cows might have been esteemed a Tutsi. In 1933, the Belgians conducted a census using these identity cards that is the source of the perceived percentages for each group, Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, and Twa 1%. During the 1970’s, the percentage of Tutsi was smaller due to government discrimination and hence lack of material benefits for being Tutsi. No census has occurred following the 1994 Genocide, but it is estimated that the percentages are probably about 75% Hutu, 24% Tutsi, and 1% Twa.

Rwanda might have been an only German east until the last and only universe War 1. Throughout the time of European imperialism. Belgium administered Rwanda by a League of Nations and then a United Nations mandate until independence in 1962. The Germans and then the Belgians promoted Tutsi supremacy. Following World War II, though, the Belgian White Fathers tended to promote Hutus, because they were the oppressed “majority,” as the wave of self-determination began to sweep Africa. In 1957, the Party for the Emancipation of the Hutus (PARMEHUTU) was organized. Two years later, the Mwami died, and Hutus with Belgian support ousted the Tutsi monarchy. Shortly afterward, once the Hutu struck back, it created the Rwandan Tutsi Diaspora. Attempts by Tutsi exiles to launch insurgencies in the early 1960s failed, with Hutu backlashes against the internal Tutsi population. These events sowed the seeds for fundamentals of Hutu extremist ideology, exclusion, expulsion, and extermination. Tutsi who remained inside Rwanda were excluded by the government, at times forced to leave due to violence, or outright massacred.

In 1972, another Hutu backlash against Tutsi occurred in response to Burundi Tutsi massacres of Burundi Hutus. Violence continued in 1973, and then Army Chief of Staff Juvenal Habyarimana seized power, pledging to restore order. Two years later Habyarimana formed the Movement Republicans National pour la Democraticet le Development (MRND). He began funneling government largesse to his Hutu in the northwest, excluding other Hutus and Tutsis. Political liberalization cleared Africa in the late 1980s, including Rwanda. This generated hope among elements in the Tutsi Diaspora that they could negotiate their return to Rwanda. However, the Habyarimana legislature declined to shake hands with the status from claiming ostracize Tutsi refugees.


On October 1, 1990 the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), the armed wing of the RPF, invaded Rwanda from Uganda. Shortly after the RPF invasion, the FAR, with help from French and Zairian troops, pushed the rebels back into Uganda. The Rwandan government soon asked the undisciplined Zairian soldiers to leave, as they spent more time looting than fighting. French paratroopers remained until December 1993. Major Paul Kagame came into power after the death of Commander Fred Rwigema. Kagame is the one who pursued the guerrilla war in northern Rwanda using the volcanic mountain chain along the western border. Government propaganda caused masses of Hutu peasants to flee RPA advances throughout the course of the civil war. Through a series of offensives and subsequent negotiated withdrawals, the RPF gained control of about five percent of Rwanda along the border with Uganda before it signed the Arusha Accords in August 1993 with the Rwanda government.

Because of those RPA invasion, those 5,000-man distant quickly expanded, with French preparation assistance, should About 30,000 Toward 1993. The Presidential Guard and Hutu extremist militias, who comprised the main perpetrators of the genocide and preceding political violence, emerged during this expansion. France, Egypt and South Africa provided the bulk of the arms used to equip the expanded army and militias. France had granted Rwanda the same status as its own former African colonies in the mid-1970s. Egyptian interest in Rwanda stemmed from its interest in safeguarding the source waters of the Nile found in Rwanda. South Africa’s interest seemed to be purely business, the sale of weapons.

As the FAR remained and increased in power, the crime rate also shot up. Massacre operations, especially those carried out by the Presidential Guard, became the order of the day. The Presidential Guard, the regime’s most trusted unit, consisted exclusively of Hutu extremists from the northwest, President and Madame Habyarimana’s home communes.


Rwanda’s Hutu extremist genocide insurgency started in 1992 with the creation of the armed youth wing of the MRND, the INTERAHAMWE, whose sole purpose was terrorizing the perceived enemies of the Habyarimana regime. The much smaller IMPUZAMUBAMBI was created later for the same reason. Although French troops may not have directly trained the militias and youth wings of the MRND and CDR, these elements received terrorist training at FAR bases throughout the country. An Organization for African Unity (OAU) Neutral Military Observer Group (OAUNMOG) officer stated, “Military officers out of uniform led extremist Hutu militia units and had an efficient system in place that could mobilize 500 plus youths in an hour to execute specific missions”. Nationwide, the INTERAHAMWE and the IMPUZAMUBAMBI ranged between 10,000 and 30,000 members.


Hutu extremist militia activity increased with the implementation of the Arusha Accord signed on August 4, 1993. The Accord ended three years of fighting and were supposed to pave the way for multi-party general elections. According to the treaty, the existing government would remain in office until a transitional government was set up within 37 days from the signing of the accords. All registered political parties were eligible to participate in the transitional government and were allocated ministerial posts. The CDR (Hutu extremist party), was opposed to this idea, therefore, they were excluded from the participating in the process.

When those transition ruler may bear been into place,the twins aspects may coordinate theirs militaries under an solitary 19,000 mamoncillo countrywide defend. A Neutral International Force (NIF) would ensure security throughout the country during the transitional period. The NIF became the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 872 on October 5, 1993. Finally, multi-party elections were to be held in 22 months. Both the Rwandan government and the RPF agreed that Faustin Twagiramungu, the president of the MDR, would become prime minister of the broadly based interim government. However, the Hutu extremist were not a part of this political process in Rwanda.

The Arusha Agreement was overthrown by the Habyarimana regime. According to Twagiramungu, the prime minister-designate, extremist soldiers, notably the Presidential Guard, wanted the president to resume the war with the RPF, while Habyarimana merely wanted to use delaying tactics by refusing to form the transitional government. As time progressed, the tactic of political squabbling, which delayed establishing the transitional government, shifted to acts of violence and political assassination using Hutu extremist insurgent forces, namely the FAR-led INTERAHAMWE. Hutu Power, embraced the idea of genocide, which they thought was a means of self-defense. In January 1994, Twagiramungu accused the Defence Ministry of giving military training to more than 1,000 members of the INTERAHAMWE. Violence escalated in February and March in an effort by the Hutu extremists to discern the reaction of the international community, which thus far had done little in response to previous Hutu militia attacks. The political impasse continued as violence increased, and the government and RPF prepared for renewed fighting.


On April 6, 1994, Hutu extremists shot down Habyarimana’s plane, and then Tanzania they began the systematic execution of Tutsi and moderate Hutus. The government used radio broadcasts and print media prior to and during the genocide to mobilize the Hutu population for what it saw as total war – the annihilation of all enemies of the state. Contrary to what the press reported at the outset of the genocide, the desire by the Hutu political elite for political supremacy, and not seething tribal hatred, generated the massive slaughter. The modern Hutu extremist political leaders deliberately chose fear and chaos to remain in power.

The civil war resumed as the RPA battalion fighting for survival in Kigali and to stop the genocide. The international community evacuated its expatriates from Rwanda, and the UN Security Council voted to leave a token UNAMIR force in Kigali. As RPA forces advanced, the genocide stopped behind the lines, however, individual soldiers conducted reprisals against Hutus.

France launched operation TOURQUOISE to protect those at risk, from June until August 1994. The operation saved very few Tutsi lives, but rather facilitated the escape of many senior government officials and the bulk of the FAR and Hutu militias, along with hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilians into eastern Zaire. The RPA captured Kigali on July 4, 1994. The RPA forces moved rapidly into the northwest and on July 17, 1994 the bulk of the FAR, along with about 800,000 Hutus, fled to Goma, Zaire. The emergence of Refugee camps increased along with a second humanitarian crisis. This time the victims were the genocidiers, their families, supporters, and Hutu hostages. The RPA insurgents now controlled Rwanda and the former government forces would begin their genocidal insurgency in August 1994 from the refugee camps of eastern Zaire.

According to the official figures, out of a population of 7.3 million people the Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,174,000 in 100 days (10,000 murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute). It is estimated that about 300,000 Tutsi survived the genocide. Thousands of widows, many of whom were subjected to rape.


Beginning of the insurgency was quite slow due to senior former Rwandan government and military leaders’ spent little time launching their genocidal insurgency. The Hutu extremist insurgency was started in small scale and then gradually expanded.  Initially, they organized as small units and infiltrated from the refugee camps to conduct robberies and criminal acts to gain resources to acquire weapons and other military supplies.

Gradually the reorganization was done by amalgamating of the EX-FAR units, officers, and soldiers in the camps and incorporating the INTERAHAMWE. Later the new extremist organization was referred as the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) by themselves came into the picture. They structured the organization as EX-FAR officers and noncommissioned officers to serve as the cadres, while the INTERAHAMWE and new recruits to serve as the soldiers in new units. Meantime several small raids were conducted against soft non-military targets, as well as action of sabotage, political assassination of local government leaders, murder of genocide survivors and witnesses. In 1996, the EX-FAR had expanded themselves into two Divisions, one based in North Kivu, and the other in South Kivu. Same time they prepared to get rid of the Tutsi’s control.  At that time approximate insurgent cadre was 100,000.


Most people in western Rwanda supported the insurgents, because many of them still had family inside Rwanda.  The Hutu extremists used various tactics to maintain support amongst Hutus.  They refused to accept the new government and their policirs. In order to inculcate this message to the society they used the psychology of fear and emphasized the hostilities between Hutu and Tutsi. The insurgents used terrorism to compel public to support. Further, the insurgents used propaganda and the press to publicize any RPA negative action against the Hutu population. 


Attacks on Banyamulenge Tutsi were just the vehicle, Kagame needed to launch his clandestine pre-emptive strikes to resolve the EX-FAR and refugee camp problem.  Rwanda had three objectives to accomplish in Zaire.

            a.          Dismantle the camps. 

            b.       Destroy the structure of the Hutu army and militia units based in the camps.

            c.          To over throw the Mobutu’s regime. 

The main objective of the Rwandan government was to get the people back to their communities, without establishing another refugee camps inside Rwanda. However refugees were welcomed in the country without any filtering in order to make the repatriation faster.  But some of refugees and extremist insurgent fled to westward across Zaire with EX-FAR.  However the refugees, who fled to Tanzania, due to the genocide, were returning home in 1996.  At that instance immediately, the government implemented a program to register all returning refugees, including EX-FAR. There by insurgent activities inside Rwanda was weakened, but the basic EX-FAR structure remained intact.


After a peaceful time in Rwanda, by 1997 small insurgent groups re launched attacks against soft targets. Unlike previous occasion this time insurgents have changed their targeting tactics. Mainly they targeted Western expatriates rather than Tutsi people. So the Hutu extremist insurgents reverted to terrorist attacks that increased the spreading of fear throughout Rwanda. This time insurgents separated the Hutus and the Tutsis, and then killed the Tutsis. Meantime the Zairian rebels were supported by the RPA, chased Mobutu’s army and the EX-FAR west towards Kinshasa.  The insurgents moved into villages and spread propaganda that the extremist rebels would soon “liberate” Rwanda.

A child soldier from the Laurent-Desire Kabila’s rebel troops of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, patrols in Kinshasa, 21 May 1997, before a friendly crowd. In October 1996, Zairean opposition leader Laurent Desire Kabila, as head of the newly formed Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, rallied forces consisting mostly of Tutsi from eastern Zaire and launched a full-scale rebellion against Mobutu, forcing him to flee the country, following failed peace talks in May 1997. On 17 May 1997, Kabila installed himself as head of state after his troops took control of Kinshasa and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

As a result, local population helped to fortify in some of the villages. Due to the above mentioned reason, RPA units in the northwest who were loosely deployed suffered heavy casualties. The increased fighting was serious enough for MG Kagame to recommence large scale counter insurgency campaign.  From mid-May until the end of June, RPA units fought battalion size EX-FAR units in conventional battles almost daily which created quite unfavorable impact on the government.

As RPA troops were deployed in large numbers and they were provided with armored vehicles with superior fire power to find and destroy insurgents.  RPA’s strategy was to wage a war of attrition by creating conditions where the EX-FAR would mass in large formations to attack, and then RPA would counterattack, forcing the insurgents to scatter.  This strategy would evidently shift initiative from the EX-FAR back to the RPA.

Afterwards pitched battles usually occurred from organized attacks on commune headquarters, schools, and small RPA positions. Sometimes the separating of Tutsis was not possible. The frustrated genocidal guerrillas would then randomly fire at everyone, killing and wounding indiscriminately. The killings which took place within the Rwanda’s soil up to 2001 are indicated in following table:

YearEventResponsible PartyVictim (By death)
Hutu InsurgentsRPF membersCiviliansForeign Observers/Troops
1994Kibeho MassacreRPF Army4000
1994UN PKFMHutu Insurgents   11 UN PKs
1996Op in KaragoRPF Army62   
1996Musakera attackRPF Army300 Congolese   
1997Capture of hutu campRPF Army300  3 Spanish
1997Chyangugu KillingHutu Insurgents   5 HR observers
1997Gunman killingHutu insurgent  20 
1997Kigulube KillingRPF Army200   
1997Operation against HutuRPF Army  2300 Suspects of insurgents 
1997Prision attackHutu insurgent2000288 
1997Mandende campHutu insurgents  120 
1998Attacks on insurgentsRPF Army50   
1998Attacks on civilliansHutu insurgent  Over 275 
2001Attack on insurgentsRPF Army150   


  • In history we have found many insurgent groups which share common features with Rwanda’s Hutu extremist insurgency.   A force of National Liberation (FNL) was a rebel group in Burundi which fought in the Burundi civil war for the Hutu ethnic group.  Their aim was to establish a Hutu power and wipe out Tutsi from the region. 


  • There were similarities between the Rwanda and Burundi insurgent groups.  Same like Rwanda in ninetieth century Burundi was annexed by the Germans and later conquered by the Belgium force.  Situation of Burundi was also similar to Rwanda.  Even though, Hutu were the majority and Tutsis were the minority but Tutsi got more privileges.  Tutsi maintained the monopoly in government and military positions.  In 1972 insurgents proceeded to kill every Tutsi in sight.  Tutsi controlled Army over reacted by conducting genocide.  Both the Rwandan’s and Burundi’s Hutus were extremist and their action was very brutal, so the death increased up to 210000 deaths.
  • In 1993 Melchior Ndadage won the election and formed the first Hutu government.  After three month he was assassinated by the Tutsi extremists.  Tensions began to escalate and ended with 25,000 deaths. The beginning of the Burundi civil war when In 1994 Ndadage’s successor, Cyprien Ntarymira was killed with Rwandan president in the same plane crash. 
  • Palipehutu was the rebel group in Burundi which fought the civil war for the Hutu ethnic group.  The armed wing of Palipehutu was the FNL.  It was found in 1980 in refugee camp in Tanzania.  Subsequently they developed their activity all over the country.   When opportunities arise they got the advantage by conducting violence.  The aim of the two insurgent groups was almost same as to wipe out the Tutsi and establish a Hutu government.


  • Palipehutw unchanging its armed associate FNL in 1985 and it was led by CossaKabur.  The political wing of Palipehutw was renamed as the party for the Liberation of people Agakiza and it was led by Etienne Karatasi.  National comrade promoted their civil doctrine while armed wing fought against government. Estimated strength of the FNL was around 3000 combatants.  Same like in Rwanda’s Hutu extremist, FNL also recruited the child soldiers.
  • In any event their sweeping spirit was the popular egg on. Whenever required they used masses to achieve their objectives.  Generally Palipehutu’s support comes more from the central region of Muramvya and lake Tangunyika.  Each region operated under respective regional commanders.  As a result of that in 2002 FNL split into two factions.  One led by Kabura and one by AgathonRwasa.  However Rwanda’s Hutu extremist managed to continue their growth without a hitch.


  • Most Hutus believed that the Tutsi wanted to use the ground forces to remain in force.  So they thought there is no any alternative other than taking coat of arms.  Initially they fought against Burundian Armed force.  Same like Rwanda’s Hutus they follow the basic guerilla tactics.  Mainly they try to gain the popular support by conducting ethnic cleansing.  They displayed their strength by conducting well planed attacks.  Both Rwandans and Burundi insurgent were more focused to conduct small team operations.  Most of the time they attacked in small groups but the attacks were very brutal.  They were reluctant to change according to the situation due to the fact that they were motivated to fight till the victory.
  •  Other than that they conduct ambushes, kidnapping, bombing, assassination of leaders and attacks on soft target. Terrain in the central region facilitated insurgents to establish secure bases. Both the rebel groups established their bases in the wilderness.  Sympathizers who were in surrounding villages were given the backup by providing information and logistic support. Both the insurgent groups adopted strong armer system to control the rebellions.


  • Both the governments were not able to identify and address the root causes of their issues.  However they managed to conduct COIN campaigns comprehensively well.  They identified the refugee camps in neighboring countries were the breeding places for insurgency.  Rwanda allowed refugees to return to their villages. It was successful and within ten days majority was settled down.  But Burundi governance adopted a slow process by consistently claiming that refugee camp in Tanzania is a threat to the security. 
  • Initially, both governments were not successful. Subsequently it was succeeded and they were able to the coordinate government machinery. Republic of   Burundi achieved the success in 2004 November by making Hutu dominated government through the election. In 2005 Burundi president established a new national ground forces which consisting both Hutu and Tutsi military machine force.   By doing so Burundi government was able to win the heart and mind of the Hutu as well as Tutsi. By this time rebels were in fed up position by knowing that they fought for unachievable goal.  Prosperity of the Burundi start with the FNL signed for peace agreement. As constituent of the agreement, members of the FNL were to be assembled, demobilized and integrated in to the national Army. 



The government should move rapidly to provide an analysis of the type of insurgency it faces and its subsequent implications. Then it should decide how to stop, neutralize or reverse the consequences of such an insurgency. At the same time the government and its agencies have to respond positively to the violence and intimidation generated by the insurgency. It can be noted that Rwanda government came into power through fierceness. Therefore some would argue that it was not legitimate government but still it relied almost exclusively on the Armed forces to combat the insurgents.

The government sent officials to villages to explain the regime policies. In that context whenever a major insurgent attack or serious human right abuses took place, senior government officials and military leaders went to the setting to educate and mobilize the general population and it created positive attitude towards the Rwandan government.

Another optimistic trend that enhanced the government’s perceived legitimacy was the holding of local elections at the cellule and sector level in March 1999. In overall, the population generally viewed the elections positively, and they were successful. The government has recruited more former Forces Armies Rwandese (FAR) into the government armed forces. This has helped to change the perception that the Rwandan Patriotic Front was exclusively Tutsi. Almost immediately, the government reaped the benefit of having these former insurgents in their ranks and file. By doing that the local population had the proof that government forces not an occupying force but actually there to defend them.


Success of any COIN operation must needs unity of effort. In other words achieving of strategic objective in different approaches, most importantly from different agencies, different directions and different philosophies. To achieve this goal one needs to have a strong control structure. It is important to understand priority of action between the main fields of government activity it includes economic, social, military and administration. Some careful planning and coordination is required to ensure that what areas should brought under government and military in order to avoid duplication and to close loop holes.

It is proven fact that Rwanda is the poorest counties in the world. In that environment government may lack resources to provide basic services. In initial stages military served as the government’s primary means of credible capacity to coordinate other agencies. During mid-1998 the government used food distribution in the northwest as a credible means to coerce. Local officials and military leaders would announce dates and locations for food distribution.

Judicial system also is supposed to serve as credible force to ensure compliance with the pattern of law and hence ensure stability. The racial extermination (genocide) destroyed the justice system including most lawyers, magistrates and judges. The government has made valiant effort to improve the justice system and remove impunity from society with the help of armed forces.


The selective destruction of insurgents is one of the most important principles in COIN operations. The aim should be to defeat the insurgency on his ground using enough but no more force than is absolutely necessary. By the end of summer 1996, the Hutu extremist insurgency seemed to be gaining steam and the EX- FAR had reorganized itself into two divisions. It was planned to conduct large scale open offensive against the government. With prevailing indicators the Rwandan government starts to plan its own pre operations to resolve the problem especially in refugee camps.


  • The key is to destroy insurgency is due to good intelligence activity by the government. It may include knowledge of the country, ethnic composition, culture, religious and schisms, the political scene and party leaders, the influence of neighboring states.  Rwanda government understood the importance of conducting pre emptive operations in refugee camps. Because with the intelligence it was found out that Hutu militiamen used the camps as a bases to launched raid in to Rwanda and the same time Hutus had been purchasing arm to conduct full scale invasion of Rwanda.
  • On the other hand Rwanda government failed to collect intelligence or information about large scale operations, which resulted unavoidable circumstances. But in later part of the hunting expedition, government was able to collect some intelligence with the help of former rebels.


The primary aim of separating the insurgents from their support was to deny the insurgents information, logistics, recruits, safe bases and popular support. This could be achieved both through physical and psychological operations, most importantly wining the hearts and minds of the people. The basic ideologies of Hutu insurgents were same as that of the year 1994 and before, that is, the annihilation of the Tutsi. On the other hand Hutu insurgents got much support from northwest because most of them came from the same area. They knew the terrain and the people, and their extended families and friends provided protection.  The insurgents also convinced civilians, including women and children, to participate in attacks, especially against Tutsis.

  • In that scenario the government forces were able to establish firm bases in Hutu predominant areas. But most of time battalion commanders came across with human right abuse which did not support to win hearts and minds of the population. On the other hand some understood the best way to defeat the insurgents was to win over the locals and these commanders spend much time mobilizing the population to the government side.

Winning of hearts and mind of local population took more than two years of time. According to government officials, the Rwanda military information platoon developed and implemented the program.  The campaign succeeded due to following reasons:

  1. Insurgents could not deliver their promise to “liberate Rwanda” as the government forces continually defeated them.
  • People were tired of running and fighting.
  • Most of the people were hungry and sick.
  • Also, the Rwandan Air Force helicopters to drop leaflets in Congo and in inaccessible areas to induce people who fled with the insurgents to return home. These efforts, coupled with insurgents defeat, helped convince the population that had fled to return home.


This principle probably holds the key to the effective application of all other five principles. The announcement of bold government initiatives to be done after the insurgency has been defeated. The government has put in extra effort to win the hearts and minds of the population. The authorities must be tactful enough to control it in a sensitive manner. But eventually Rwandan government developed a program of resettlement sites to bring basic services to the population. With its perceived legitimacy enhanced, the government took steps to bring remaining Hutu refugees from the Congo. By the end of January 1998 an estimated 80 percent of displaced population had resettled in new resettlement villages. At the same time the government realized that military means could not totally destroy all the insurgents and they appreciated that the best way to co-opt those not guilty of genocide and integrate them.

In early 1998 solidarity camps were established and as a result most of insurgents were integrate. On April 1998 a group of about 1,200 former insurgents, graduated from a solidarity camp. At the same time the spread of leaflets and poster campaigns were successful. It was conducted by the government to win the support of the local communities.


Rwandan government maintained political primacy and aim throughout its counter insurgency operations. The following listed ideas were followed by the government. Also the following statements can be useful in a similar situation.

  1. Mobilization of government and senior officials to educate general population on government policies and plans.  Increasing the awareness of public on government policies and plans are essential in COIN.
  • Conducting of elections to establish democracy after defeating insurgents.
  • Integration of ex-insurgents in to Government Forces.


Success of any Counter Insurgency Operation depends on the integrated efforts of all government agencies. Rwandan Government used the synergetic effect of all agencies such as:

  1. During mid-1998 the government used food distribution in the northwest as a credible means to coerce while conducting military operations.
  • Establishment of Judicial system to serve as credible force to ensure compliance with the rule of law and hence ensure stability. The government valiant effort to improve the justice system and remove impunity from society with the help of armed forces is an essential consideration in COIN.


Success of the Rwanda insurgency depends on the government actions taken to eliminate combatants and chase insurgents toward Kinshasa.

  1. Use of mobile forces to find and fix, then destroy them with superior firepower including artillery and gunships.
  • Government strategy to wage a war of attrition by creating conditions where the insurgents would mass in large formation of attack and shift the initiative from insurgents to government.
  • Elimination of recruitment process and supplies by conducting continuous heavy attacks on insurgents. Heavy fighting situation insurgents had problem of recruiting new members. 
  • Rwandan government success in apprehending insurgent leaders fled to other countries is another lesson can be learnt. To make such ability, after year 2000, Rwandan government increased its diplomatic presence and established diplomatic relationship with international organizations and various countries.


Intelligence is very much essential factor in COIN operations. Government of Rwanda and its military forces were able to succeed in intelligence war by inducting ex-insurgents in to their forces and with the help of former combatants. Use of former combatants is an effective mean of gathering intelligence.


Currently Rwanda is pretty peaceful.  However effect of the insurgent activates were shifted to DROC. Current war in the DROC is called as Africa’s First World War.  Armies of seven countries as well as three different central African insurgent groups are involved in this regional campaign. There were no large scale insurgent attacks existent during the period of year 1998 to year 2000, because majority of the EX – FAR were fighting for Kabila in DROC. 

Heavy fighting took place in 2001 between Ruhengeri and Gisenyi provinces. Both parties had to endure damages. Finally RPF restored stability capturing many insurgents.  Stabilized the fully peace is difficult due to the sporadic attacks conduct by the rebels in South West and North West.  But government forces were able to won the hearts and minds of the people. 

With the help of popular support, the government has the capability of winning the war against Hutu extremists.  In late 2002 government of Rwanda officially withdrew its forces from DROC.  However they maintain proxy forces and frequently send troops for special missions.  By doing so they try to threaten the genocidal insurgents.  Prior to the peace accords Rwandan government had stated that it would remain in DROC as long as its security interests were not sufficiently addressed. 

Even though the government won against the Hutu extremists, it can be noted that the earlier force in Rwanda was the extremists. It is understandable that stabilizing peace is a long process. We cannot compare Hutu extremist insurgent with other insurgent groups in the world. Bad memories of the Tutsi and the extremist ideas of the Hutus cannot be erases within one night.  Therefore adapting of proper long term counter insurgency mechanisms is essential. 

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