Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre Rwanda
Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre is a genocide museum that was a former church in Bugasera region in Rwanda about 30 kilometers south of Kigali. There are also many tourist attractions in Kigali city including genocide memorial places. Nyamata museum was set up to commemorate the Rwandan genocide of 1994 as well as its victims. It is approximated that over 50,000 victim remains buried at this site. This massacre memorial is among the many genocide memorial sites in Rwanda that were launched to remember the Rwanda Genocide that engulfed the entire country and claimed close to a million lives mainly Tutsi ethnic group.
Since the genocide occurred in the whole country, people died in bigger numbers prompting the government to set up several genocide canters mainly at places where the victims died from. That why Rwanda has several other places including the Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre, Bisesero Genocide Memorial Centre, Ntarama Genocide Memorial Centre, Nyanza Genocide Centre and Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial. The Campaign Against Genocide Museum plus Kigali Genocide Memorial, the biggest in the country are also among them. The mentioned museums are the major one but Rwanda has over 250 registered memorial sites that commemorate genocide in the happened in the country.
The Rwandan genocide started in April 1994 following the shooting down of the plane carrying the then President Juvenal Habyarimana towards Kanombe Airport. Habyarimana died together the Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira whom he had given a lift from a Tanzania Peace conference. The President’s death sparked off the long boiling hatred between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis with the later being the major massacre victims.
At Nyamata, many Tutsi people congregated here as churches were thought to be places of safety. An estimated 10,000 people assembled here locked themselves in. today, the church walls show how the wrongdoers made holes through the walls to facilitate the easy detonating of grenades into the church. Many people inside the church were shot or killed with machetes. The church ceiling has bullet holes as the altar cloth is still vividly tainted with blood. Most of the remains of those killed from this site are buried but the clothes and identity cards were left. Sadly, the identity cards were the ones that identified victims as either Tutsi or Hutu. People in the neighboring villages were also massively executed after the church massacres. The total number the people whose remains are buried at Nyamata is estimated at 50,000 victims.