Rep. Steve Pearce Falsely Claims No Guns Used in Rwanda Genocide

| by Michael Allen
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Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) made the extraordinary false claim that no guns were used in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which he claims was done only with machetes.

Rep. Pierce made the comment during a Las Cruces, New Mexico town hall on Thursday when a voter asked about gun control, which the congressman opposes.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Rep. Pierce told the voter: “They don’t have guns in Rwanda, yet (more than 500,000) people died by machetes.”

Contrary to Rep. Pierce's claim, Rwanda's officials bought guns, mortar bombs, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition from Egypt in 1990. The Hutu regime in Rwanda used  the weapons in their genocide against the Tutsis in 1994.

According to the book "In A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide" by Linda Melvern, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations,  even admitted helping Egypt sell the weapons to Rwanda, notes The Guardian.

Boutros-Ghali was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Egypt and said he approved the weapons sale because it was his job.

Also, according to the Journal of Peace Research:

Human Rights Watch has documented how, in 1992–93, burgomasters (the head of the communal authority) ordered quantities of arms and ammunition that far exceeded the needs of their local police forces (Des Forges, 1999: 97–99). They ordered guns, Kalashnikovs, machine guns, grenades and large quantities of ammunition. The report also documents the purchase of arms by the rebels, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Goose & Smith (1994: 86–96) describe and criticize the arms sales to Rwanda in detail.

In another study posted on SmallArmsSurvey.org:

Soldiers, national police (gendarmes), former soldiers, and communal police played a larger part in the slaughter than is generally realized... Although usually few in number at sites of massive killing, their tactical knowledge and their use of weapons of war, including grenades, machine guns, and even mortars, contributed significantly to the death tolls in these massacres.

Sources: The Guardian, Journal of Peace Research, Las Cruces Sun-News, SmallArmsSurvey.org