Nyamata And Ntarama Genocide Memorials - The Twin Churches

  • Gazelle Safari Africa

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  • Aug 09, 2021

One cannot know the depth of the 1994 Genocide In Rwanda, until they visit one of the genocide memorial sites. The “Twin Churches” as they are popularly known are a stern reminder of the grim past that Rwanda has since left behind.

These churches were a scene of horrific massacres during the 1994 Genocide. Many people from the neighborhood(s) took refuge in the house of the Lord believing that it was a safe haven.  However, on 10th April 1994, the Interahamwe forcefully entered the church compound and killed all the 10,000 people who had gathered here.

In memory of this brutality and the victims of the genocide, a machete is placed at the altar of The Nyamata Church, while clothing and other personal belongings of the victims lie in big piles in different areas of the church. The church also has underground stone chambers where 41,000 bodies of those killed in the Church and in other areas around Nyamata are being held. Brave Visitors can enter the unlit underground chambers where skulls are piled up in four layers of shelves all around them.

Little children and babies were not spared either, many were brutally smashed on the church walls, their innocent blood still visible to date. More than 20 years later, more remains are still getting exhumed from around the country and brought to this site.

Just one kilometer away is another church in Ntarama, where a different set of people fled for safety. About 5,000 victims died here according to a signpost at the church entrance. Just like the Nyamata Church, personal belongings of victims like identity cards, jewellery toys among others, line the walls. However, this church is scarier because of the metal rafts at the front and back of the church holding skeletons.

A memorial garden has been planted leading to a wall about 500Km away where names of victims are inscribed.  Noteworthy, Guides in both places all lost family members in the attacks, so this is a daily grim reminder of the atrocities meted upon their loved ones.

To get there,  drive North out from the City on Remera Road and branch off from Sonatubes in Kigali locally pronounced as “SONATIBE” and drive another 26 Kilometers to Nyamata. To visit this and more, book our https://gazellesafarisafrica.com/safari/5-days-genocide-reconciliation-tour/

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