Nyamata Genocide Memorial Center is a church that is preserved for the remembrance of the 1994 genocide victims in Rwanda. The memorial is located in what was originally the Nyamata Parish. Approximately 25000 people died in this church during the famous genocide in Rwanda. Nyamata Genocide Memorial Center has thus become an emblem of the harsh treatment Rwandan women got during the 1994 genocide. Once you enter the church, you will realize that it displays a big picture of agony. The several graphics and audio focus solely on mass rape, brutality against women, and the spread of HIV as a strong weapon of genocide.
When the Rwandan genocide sparked off in 1994, Nyamata Church acted as a gathering place for many Rwandan residents. They used it for protection against the brutal Hutes. The compound provided a home for the scared Rwandans who hoped they would escape death since no one expected the militia to attack it.
However, the seek for protection was short-lived. This is because about 1000 people lost their lives in this church and within its compound. The massacre took place on 10th April 1994 as narrated by the locals who managed to survive.
Nyamata church is one of Rwanda’s six National Genocide Memorial Sites. The Roman Catholic Church desacralized Nyamata Church on 11th April 1997 and transformed it into a memorial to the victims of the genocide. One person is buried inside the church, which also houses the victims, their clothes, and their belongings. Rwandans dedicate the 11th of April every year to commemorate the victims who died at this site. According to Leon Muberuka, a local guide at Nyamata, the number of victims includes those whom the brutalists killed inside the church, as well as others whom they exhumed from surrounding areas.
The church walls today show how the perpetrators made holes in the walls of the church so they could throw grenades into the church. After this, the perpetrators killed the people with machetes or shot them.
The ceiling of the church shows bullet holes and the altar cloth is still stained with the blood of the murdered people. Unlike other churches which keep memories of the people from the past through sculptures and still conduct religious activities, Nyamata church no longer holds ceremonies.
The Rwandan government along with the genocide survivors from within the area of Nyamata opted and agreed to keep the church as a memory of the genocide. The government and the survivors did this to commemorate the people who lost their lives in the church and the surrounding area.
Currently, very many tourists frequently visit Nyamata Church. Locals and genocide survivors who want to learn more about the terrific hundred days of terror in Rwanda also visit this site. Once you’re in Kigali, you will have the urge to visit it because of its history. You can access the Church’s basement down steep states from the back which is now a catacomb.
There are many clothes in the site’s chapel for those who lost their dear lives there. Along with them, are the weapons that the extremists used to kill the victims. Beneath the chapel, there is a room displaying the remains of those killed in the church. You also find the skulls of the people who the Hutus killed during that time.
People buried most of the remains, but clothing and identity cards remain. The identity cards were what identified people as either Tutsi or Hutu.
The memorial is based around a former church which is about 30km(19 mi) South of Kigali, Rwanda in Bugesera region in the Eastern Province (Nyamata Village II, Nyamata Village cell, Nyamata sector, Bugesera district.
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