What caused the Rwanda genocide?

What caused the Rwanda genocide?

Ethnic conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis.

This answer was taken from a news article in the "Oxfam Press Release" dated March 30, 2004.

The genocide was the product of a political movement in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Rwanda, rather than as was implied by some at the time, an outpouring of "ancient tribal hatreds". However, the roots of this movement stretch back into the country's history. Historical tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi groups had been exacerbated by the policies of Rwanda's colonial rulers - Germany from the 1890s, then Belgium from the First World War. Both reinforced the Tutsi's position of power within Rwandan society, exacerbating Hutu resentments. Rwanda was Africa's most densely populated nation; ninety per cent of its people are subsistence farmers and competition for land is intense. The majority of the population was illiterate and living in grinding poverty.

When the Hutu majority finally gained power after independence in 1962, many Tutsi fled to neighboring countries such as Uganda, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Burundi. Their desire to return to their country became a major political issue in the region. An army of Tutsi exiles called the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) formed in Uganda in 1979 and invaded Rwanda in 1990, sparking a civil war.

In August 1993, the international community backed a power-sharing peace deal between the Rwandan government and the RPF, the "Arusha accords". The agreement paved the way for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, or UNAMIR, which was sent to monitor the ceasefire at the heart of the peace accords. But the warning signs were increasing of imminent violence against the Tutsi. With a concerted propaganda campaign, the Hutu Power movement was able to play on land hunger, lack of education and historical resentment to instill hatred for all Tutsi.