Black History

#BlackHistoryFacts for April 6: Overthrow attempt fails in Cameroon, Rwandan genocide begins

In 1984, the country of Cameroon was dealt a blow when it was announced that an attempt to overthrow their new president Paul Biya (pictured) had failed. There was later speculation that the predecessor to the presidency, Ahmadou Ahidjo, a former friend and ally of Biya. It was stated that Ahidjo was trying to recapture the power that he deliberately gave up two years earlier. The plot, it was alleged led to massive purges of nothern Cameroonians in the police, armed forces and the administration. This ended Biya’s ‘progressive change’ idea along with his hope of national unity. The coup attempt caused Biya to shield his power with his fellow Beti who made up what is known in popular Cameroonian literation as “Pays Organiseur” – French for “organizing country” meaning the region where members hold political and administative power.

In 1994, the Rwandan Genocide” began. A plane carrying Hutu General Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi leader Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over Kigali, leaving no survivors. Blame for the geneocide has been place on the Hutu people while others placed blame on leaders of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). After the plane crash, the Presidential guard along with members of the Rwandan armed forces and Hutu militia groups set up barricades and roadblocks were set up and the wide spread massacre of Tutsi began and ‘moderate’ Hutus. The next day, Hutu prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first people killed in the genocide. It was recorded that the genocides which ended in July of 1994 took the lives of as many as 800,000 people during that time frame.

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