Rwandan Genocide Memorial Sites
The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutu in Rwanda, which took place between 7 April and 15 July 1994. It is believed that over 800,000 people were killed in a space of 100 days. The some of the genocide memorial sites in Rwanda have exhibits of the remains like the bones, skulls and photographs. Also, personal belongings like clothing, shoes, and others of the genocide victims.
The genocide centers act as a reminder of the evil act of genocide and an appeal that it should never be repeated in Rwanda or anywhere in the world. These Genocide Memorial sites in Rwanda include: –
Gisenyi Memorial site.
It’s located within the grounds of an otherwise ordinary cemetery on the outskirts of Gisenyi—a border town that abuts the tormented North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This memorial contains the remains of over 1,200 people killed during the 1994 genocide. The Bodies buried at this site were collected from Nyundo and the dangerous roadblock called Corniche. It was one of the first genocide memorials in the country to be built, with the help of both IBUKA, the survivors’ organization, and the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture. Currently, it’s demarcated by low concrete walls and often mounted with a cross.
Nyamata Memorial Site.
The memorial is based around a former church which is located in the south of Kigali city in Rwanda. About 10,000 people gathered here and the people locked themselves in. It is unfortunate that many Tutsi people gathered here considering it as safe since it was a Holy place though it was a trap for death. The church walls today show how the perpetrators made holes in the walls of the church so that grenades could be thrown into the church. After this, the people inside were shot or killed with machetes. The ceiling of the church shows the bullet holes, and the altar cloth is still stained with blood. Most of the remains have been buried but clothing and identity cards are left. These identity cards identified them as the Tutsi and Hutu.
Nyarubuye Memorial Site.
The Nyarubuye massacre is the name given to the killing of an estimated 2,000 civilians on April 15, 1994 at the Nyarubuye Roman Catholic Church in Kibungo Province. The victims had sought refuge in the church; Men, women, and children were reported to have been killed indiscriminately, with the attackers allegedly using spears, machetes, clubs, hand grenades and automatic weapons.
In Nyarubuye Memorial Site you can find thermoses, dishes, and shoes abandoned by victims.
Nyanza Memorial Site.
It’s located in Kicukiro, a suburb southeast of the city center towards the airport, there is little to see at this memorial other than the tiled tops of four mass graves believed to contain the remains of the 4000 Tutsi. These victims were abandoned by the Belgian UN and took refuge in the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO) grounds which was a school.
Bisesero Memorial Site.
This was the place of the Tutsis as they organized to stand up against the Massacre. Due to their weak weapons like the stones and sticks, most of them were murdered by the Hutus. The Bisesero Memorial site was initially comprising of Nine communities which formed the kibuye region. Today the site is referred to as Hill of Resistance because of the brave resistance exhibited by the Bisesero people against their opponents.
Ntarama Memorial Site.
It is much smaller than the other church genocide memorial sites because it was a small village parish. 5,000 people were killed here in a Catholic church. Majority were women and children who were massacred. They had also come to seek refuge just like in the other Churches. Currently, this church became a display site.
Murambi Memorial Site.
Murambi genocide memorial set on the grounds of former Murambi technical school near Murambi town and is by far the most difficult memorial to visit because of the bodies and skeletons of genocide victims on display. When the killings started, Tutsis in the region tried to hide at a local church. However, the bishop and mayor lured them into a trap by sending them to the technical school, claiming that French troops would protect them there. On average 65,000 Tutsis traveled to the school. Once the victims arrived, no water or food was provided in order they become more weaker to resist.