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The Story of the 600
The dramatic and little known story of a group of opposition soldiers trapped behind enemy lines at the outset of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. Eyewitness accounts of their counterattack against a much larger force, and the daring rescues they made of civilians while under fire.
A sergeant in the 600,Theogene is part of the first counter-attacks against the superior forces of the government army. Once high ground is secured, he gets permission to try and save his relatives nearby. Disguised in a captured government army uniform, Theogene and a couple of colleagues round up dozens of Tutsi from his relatives’ neighborhood, and brazenly take them through government roadblocks where Tutsi are being slaughtered. But his ruse is discovered and he and the civilians have to dodge gunfire all night til he can bring them to safety.
The College of St. Andre
After horrific mass murders leave a couple of hundred of women and children resigned to a certain and imminent death, they get a reprieve when a cow distracts the militias from their killing task and gets butchered and eaten instead. The reprieve is just enough for a few RPA soldiers to make it to their hiding places and convince them to flee to safety in the middle of the night.
In one of the most dramatic and largest nighttime rescues of the Genocide, a handful of RPA soldiers sneak behind enemy lines in the center of Kigali and whisked nearly 2000 terrified civilians, who were about to be executed, to safety under enemy fire.
The soldiers of the RPA, while under fire from larger forces, still had to deal with the barbarity of the Genocide, discovering mass killings, raped women, and sometimes their own relatives who had been killed by the perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Nevertheless, many just fought on.
Loved this line in the Film – “Our cause was better than the enemy’s, so we had better morale” – Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board
Following its limited public release in Rwandan cinemas in July 2019, “THE 600” received massive reception by local audiences. 3,400+ people saw the film in theaters in 17 days only. Within one week of posting the trailer, the twitter account had 1000+ Followers.
The Making of “The 600”
In December 2017, TV Producer Richard Hall visited the newly opened Campaign Against Genocide Museum in Kigali, which tells the story of The 600, with his wife’s cousin Annette Uwizeye, a local TV and Film producer. Together they launched a production over the next 18 months that included off camera interviews with approximately 95 people, on camera interviews with 55 of them, about 15 recreations based on those interviews, and a thorough search for archival footage and personal photographs. The 2 hour film was completed just in time for the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Kigali on July 3, 2019, and was part of the weekend commemoration of that event. The premiere was attended by HE Paul Kagame and his family, veterans of the Rwandan Patriotic Army, and both soldiers and civilians featured in the film. “The 600: The Soldiers’ Story” is currently being circulated through the world wide media markets and announcements about it’s screenings will be updated here.
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