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close this bookICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)
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View the documentLandmines in Africa
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View the documentICRC News 00/12 - 6 April 2000

ICRC NEWS N° 17/28 April 1994

Heart of darkness

The extreme violence that has been tearing Rwanda apart is claiming more victims every day. The refugees streaming across the country’s borders give accounts of massacres. ICRC delegates who returned to Geneva on 27 April are badly shocked by the terrible events there. “It was the heart of darkness”, said one.

The conflict in Rwanda, which has caused over 100,000 deaths in two weeks constitutes one of the gravest crises that the ICRC has ever faced. The hundreds of thousands of people displaced throughout the country now face starvation. There is hardly a family in the country that has not been affected by this tragedy, whether because of the death of loved ones, being forced to flee or hunger. The entire population is suffering.

The unspeakable violence that continues to prevail throughout the country makes it impossible to consider large-scale food distributions. Any activity by humanitarian organizations is hazardous and uncertain. ICRC delegates who last week went to the Butare area were obliged to leave the town after standing by helplessly as numerous people were slaughtered before their very eyes.

Twenty-nine delegates remain in Rwanda

The ICRC is maintaining its presence in Kigali. Fifteen delegates have stayed on there mostly medical staff, and some 800 casualties continue to receive treatment in two hospitals in the capital. The ICRC also has 14 delegates in other parts of the country. The activities they undertake in the coming days will depend on the security guarantees they are able to obtain. “Whatever we’re managing to do at the moment is but a drop in an ocean of horror”, commented Daniel Augstburger, the desk officer for Rwanda at ICRC headquarters, for Rwanda at ICRC headquarters.