Pure Massacre

Kevin O'Halloran

In 1994, an orgy of killing swept across the tiny land-locked nation of Rawanda, and genocide, the size and magnitude unseen since the Hitler horrors of the Second World War, erupted. Around one million people were mercilessly shot, hacked to death or burnt alive. To alleviate the suffering and restore order, a group of Australian UN peacekeepers, made up of soldiers and army medical personnel, was sent to Rwanda under a United Nations mandate. These Australians were not prepared for the lack of humanity they were exposed to. On 22nd April 1995, the daily horror and tragedy they had witnessed escalated out of control. At a displaced persons’ camp in Kibeho, in full view of the Australian soldiers, over 4,000 unarmed men, women and children died in a hail of bullets, grenades and machete blades at the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Army. Constrained by the UN peacekeeping Rules of Engagement, these Australians could only watch helplessly and try to assist the wounded under the gaze of the trigger-happy killers. Pure Massacre is a record of what happened during this peacekeeping mission and gives a new and personal voice to the Kibeho Massacre. It tells of the special type of bravery, discipline and compassion needed to do what these soldiers did. Little did they know, that they would become the highest decorated UN peacekeeping contingent since the Korean War. For many, this service in Rwanda would come with a personal toll. No Australians died during and immediately after the massacre at Kibeho, but the suffering and tragedy remains embedded in their memories. Soft cover, photographs, 280 pages.