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The Rwandan Genocide Begins, Part 1

Binyenzi Schadrac, Rwandan Survivor

When the massacre—the genocide—started more openly in Rwanda, that was really starting April 6, ’94. That’s where the open and the wide—the very organized massacre of Tutsis and the moderate Hutus started, with lists and the radio helping. That’s where the situation started. A little bit earlier, yes, there were killing all over, but it was not very organized. You could hear an incident in a school, an incident in a bus station, grenades that have been thrown in a market: fifty people killed, a neighbor killed. And that made me think that nobody was safe, especially Tutsi people, and I knew that I have been threatened many times, myself. Then I decided to take my family out of the country. I planned a visit to a neighboring country, got a visa for that country—actually, Tanzania—and got a visa for my wife. And on March 19, ’94, I loaded my—I mean, I put my children and my wife in my car and I drove to Tanzania. It was a very difficult driving, but God helping, I got my family evacuated from Rwanda and I put them in Mwanza, Tanzania; it’s a small city on the shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. And I left them there and I flew back in Rwanda on April 1; that’s when I flew back in the country because I was on a small annual leave. I went back to work: I was working with the American Embassy. It didn’t take long, took just a few days, and the massive killings started. As I had thought that if situation get worse, I struggled trying to flee or to run by myself, that’s what I had, that’s what happened. I tried to run and hiding in the bushes and valleys and swamps.