Uganda Genocide

Topics: Genocide

Genocide refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. It has become an international human rights problem that has affected all races and all nationalities to this day. A genocide develops identifiable stages and therefore action can be taken to stop them before they happen. Between April and July of 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were murdered in the most rapid genocide ever recorded in the least amount of days.

But why do we consider this a genocide? From 1971 to 1985, two regimes (rulers) rose to power in Uganda, one after the other.

At first, they were Idi Amin’s and Milton Obote’s as military leader and prime minister. The killers of this massacre used simple tools such as machetes, clubs and other blunt objects, or herded people into buildings and set them aflame with kerosene. While Obote became prime minister in 1962, he later on in 1966 suspended the constitution.

He removed the ceremonial and vice president and maintained all governmental powers to himself. Once he did this, Uganda became a republic in 1967 which gave the president even more power. Between 1986 and 2006, the Lord’s Resistance Army a rebel group and heterodox people, who held a different religious opinion from the standard beliefs and teachings of the Christian group killed tens of thousands of people in northern Uganda. They also captured thousands of children to serve as soldiers and slaves.

In January of 1972, Amin began to give orders to gather and kill soldiers of the Acholi and Lango tribes.

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Obote was a member of the Lango tribe, which in Amin’s point of view turned the entire tribe into his enemy. The message was clear: any opposition would be met with death. First, the Acholi and Lango tribes were targeted because they were one of the biggest supporters of Milton, causing them to be seen as a threat. Amin’s main goal was to “purify” the nation by rounding up and killing off as many Christians as he could. This applied to anyone who was in a different tribe than his own or anyone who immigrated into Uganda. Amin classified society as “Christians” against everyone else. They distinguished/ classified the Hutus and Tutsis by nose size, height & eye type.

The next stage is symbolization, the non- Ugandans were known as Waardeloos, Teefs, or Bakooko. As a survivor mentioned “Sometimes the LRA would put a metal padlock through people’s lips as a symbol to others that this is what will happen if they speak of the LRA” survivor Norman Okello. The division between the Hutus and Tutsis was symbolized by their slight physical differences. The Hutus implemented identification cards that indicated whether you were Hutu or Tutsi. After that, there is dehumanization, people who did not choose to join the LRA were considered to be against them, which they justified as a reason for murder. The victims were thought of as animals. Over 25,000 children were abducted and forced to kill and rape their friends and relatives. More than 1.6 million people were placed in the internal displaced persons camp. The Lord’s Resistance Army did not establish any official laws targeting the victims but threatened them to comply with threats of death. Signifying that they believed they were less than human.

As Amin said, “In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve Law and Order”. He organized public sized execution to downplay any opposition to his rule. Amin also formed a secret police unit to torture anyone who opposed him until eventually having them killed with sledgehammers in order to “save ammunition”. All bodies were dumped into the Nile River and fed to the crocodiles because there were no sufficient Graves. The government financially supported the mass killings and genocidal massacres, which was the main contributor to the length of time the crimes went on for. For the 5th stage- polarization, the entire Society was destroyed culturally, physically, economically, and socially. The MNRD and Interahamwe used all forms of media available to spread the Hutu power ideology (the set of opinions or beliefs of a group or an individual). The message was clear: the Hutus were better than the Tutsis. When the President of Uganda plane crashed, propaganda and media were used effectively and efficiently to blame the Tutsis. In the stage of preparation, citizens were physically removed from their homes and forced into concentration camps.

Looking back, it seems that the MNRD and Interahamwe timed everything perfectly, and were adequately prepared to attack. The victims were identified mainly through the identity cards that the Hutu government had previously implemented. Extermination begins and legally becomes “genocide”, the genocidal massacres ensue, killing close to 100,000. When the signal was given, the Interahamwe and other Hutus conducted a deliberate, coordinated attack on the Tutsis and Hutu tribes. The targets were systematically attacked over a period of 100 days before the genocide was stopped. Millions of lives were lost, both Tutsi and Hutu. The very last stage of genocide is denial, Amin denied any and all part-taking in the cruelties. The UN tried to deny the occurrence of a genocide while it was ongoing. The UN High Commission of Human Rights conducted an “investigation” into the matter. After much deliberation, the massacres in Rwanda were recognized as a genocide.

Today, the UN clearly and precisely highlights the failures of UNAMIR and does not deny the occurrence of the genocide. This event lasted 100 days which had 100,000 people slaughtered in cold blood. It had 6 murder victims every 60 seconds of every hour of every day for more than 3 months. All in all this Uganda atrocity is considered to be a genocide that leads to passing all 8 stages. The atrocity met with all the requirements of the stages and therefore implemented the death of millions.

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Uganda Genocide. (2021, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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