1995 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year

James Nachtwey

Magnum Photos for Time

01 June, 1994

A Hutu man at a Red Cross hospital in Nyanza, Rwanda. His face was mutilated by the Hutu 'Interahamwe' militia, who suspected him of sympathizing with the Tutsi rebels.

Liberated from a nearby Hutu camp, where mainly Tutsis were incarcerated, starved, beaten, and killed, this man did not support the genocide and was thus subjected to the same treatment. Starved and attacked with machetes, he had managed to survive, though he was unable to speak and could barely walk or swallow when this photo was made.

The animosity between the Hutu and Tutsi population groups in Rwanda had been simmering for decades. In April 1994, Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana’s death in a plane crash near the capital of Kigali sparked murderous attacks on the Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates. The situation deteriorated further when the mainly Tutsi rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) started pushing south from their stronghold in northern Rwanda. A mass exodus of people trying to escape excessive violence was underway by July.

About the photographer

James Nachtwey

Photographs of the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement inspired him to become a photographer. While teaching himself photography, he worked as truck driver and as ...

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