Artbauer, Michael L.
Lawson, Letitia L.
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On April 6, 1994, the airplane returning the President of Rwanda home was shot down. After appearing to have achieved a negotiated end to the countries ongoing civil war, the nation was now plunged into an ethnically motivated genocide with horrendous results. What led the extremist elements of the Presidents ruling elite class to view this alternative as a plausible solution to the loss of power and prestige they would incur with implementation of the peace accords? To answer this question, this thesis examines how Rwanda's two ethnic groups were manipulated to ethnically stratify the country. After independence and a reversal of ethnic control, the new regionally based elites consistently returned to an ethnically divisive strategy to unite the population and maintain their narrow base of power over other regional elites. The onset of civil war in 1990 by exiled Tutsi refugees, coupled with international pressure for democratic reforms ultimately led to the Arusha Accords. The Accords in due course failed both because of extremist fears of the loss of their power and prestige, and the failure of the international community to back the vital provisions of the accords.
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