Nyamata is situated in the Bugesera region, approximately 35 kilometers from the capital city of Kigali. Nyamata and the surrounding region suffered some of the most extensive devastation in 1994, a result of targeted attacks during the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
When the Genocide began in April of 1994, many residents of the region gathered in Nyamata and sought protection at the local Catholic Church. The church compound, tended to by priests and nuns, provided a haven for the frightened masses that flocked to the compound, hoping to escape death. The church was thought of as a place of refuge and of sanctuary where the militia would not dare to attack.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. According to testimonies given by survivors and evidence gathered, approximately 10,000 civilians were killed in and around the Catholic Church compound on April 10, 1994. As the marauding killers approached, people gathered in the church and padlocked the iron door that safeguarded the entrance. Members of the ‘Interahamwe’, the Hutu militia, and the Rwandese Government Forces forced the door open and entered the church with their rifles, grenades and machetes. They massacred the people hiding inside the church and also went on to kill those in the
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