Interahamwe: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Interahamwe (Kinyarwanda meaning "those who stand/work/fight/attack together"[1]) is a Hutu paramilitary organization. The militia enjoyed the backing of the Hutu-led government leading up to, during, and after the Rwandan Genocide.


Organization and history

Robert Kajuga, a Tutsi[2], was the President of the Interahamwe. The Vice President of Interahamwe was Georges Rutaganda. The Interahamwe was formed by groups of young Hutu males who carried out the Rwandan Genocide acts against the Tutsis in 1994. The Interahamwe formed Radio Mille Collines, the genocidal radio station which was used to broadcast where the Tutsis were fleeing.

Following the invasion of the Rwandan capital Kigali by the Tutsi Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), many Rwandan civilians and members of the Interahamwe fled to neighbouring countries, most notably to what at the time was Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. The Sudan welcomed former Interahamwe to Juba, and in March 1998, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, the former prefect of Kigali, and Colonel Ntiwiragabo, the former Rwandan Presidential Guard commander, arrived in Juba from Nairobi to organize them.[3] It has been nearly impossible to bring the Interahamwe to justice because they did not wear uniforms or have a clearly organized group of followers. They were the neighbors, friends and co-workers of Tutsis. Throughout the war, members of the Interahamwe moved into camps of refugees and the internally displaced. There the victims were mixed in with the enemy and to this day it cannot be proven who killed who.

During the war, millions of Rwandan Hutu refugees fled to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), along with many members of the Interahamwe, Presidential Guard, and the Rwandan Government Forces (RGF) collectively becoming known as the Rassemblement Démocratique pour le Rwanda (roughly, Democratic Rally for Rwanda). Following the recruitment of significant numbers of Congolese Hutu the organization took the name Armée de Libération du Rwanda (ALiR). With the Kagame regime still in power, members still take part in border raids from the refugee camps.

Origin of the name

The name Interahamwe can be translated as "Those who work together". Interahamwe can be broken up this way: Intera is derived from the verb gutera, meaning "to work". The hamwe means "together" and is related to the word rimwe for "one".

English speakers usually pronounce it as in-ter-a-ham-we, though it is properly pronounced as i-nhe-ra-ha-mwe in Kinyarwanda. However, Rwandans sometimes, when speaking English will pronounce it in the English manner. The difference can be observed by listening to Paul Rusesabagina in the Return to Rwanda feature of a Hotel Rwanda DVD, and to the translator for a survivor of the Nyarubuye massacre in "Frontline" Ghosts of Rwanda. In Hotel Rwanda, the name is consistently erroneously spelled and pronounced as "Interhamwe" (in-tər-ham-we).

Hutu militants
Rwandan Genocide (1994)
Rwandan Armed Forces
Refugee crisis
RDR (1995–1996)
1st and 2nd Congo War
ALiR (1996–2001)
FDLR (2000–present)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Gérard Prunier, From Genocide to Continental War: The "Congolese" Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa, C. Hurst & Co, 2009, ISBN 1850655235, p.193

External links


Simple English

The Interahamwe (pronounced Een-hair-ah-hahm-way, with the 't' pronounced as an 'h') was the main mob army that started the 1994 Rwandan Genocide (mass murder) in which about one million Hutu and Tutsi people were killed.


The Interahamwe usually used a machete ('mupanga'), to do the killing, but guns, grenades and primitive tools like nail-studded clubs and hoes were also used. If you want a good representation of what happened in Rwanda, check out the movie "Hotel Rwanda".


About a half an hour after the President of Rawanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, was killed on the night of April 6, 1994, Interahamwe roadblocks were put up all over the city of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The murdering would end about 100 days later. This resulted in at least 500,000 deaths, but some say even up to 800,000-1,000,000 deaths.


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