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Slaughtered in the House of God

The Story of Rwanda’s Nyamata Church

April 14-19, 1994 News:

  • Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley announce plans to divorce
  • Making Shredded Wheat of Inflation; Cereal Price War Is Facet of Forces Behind March’s Modest Gains
  • Nixon in Serious Condition After Stroke; Former President Is in Intensive Care Unit at New York Hospital
  • NJ Devils end best regular season, 47-25-12 record for 106 points
  • U.N. Considers Pulling Troops Out of Rwanda

I was finishing up my junior year at Bates and was hung up on a volleyball player who was dating a guy I didn’t like very much. It was tearing me apart.

Thirty-five kilometers outside Kigali, 10,000 people had taken refuge in a Catholic Church in the town of Nyamata. And during these five days, they were all butchered there. They’d barricaded themselves inside but it only took a few grenades to blow the gates apart and facilitate slaughter, primarily by machete.

The church has been preserved, blood on the tabernacle, clothing in piles on the pews, and an ossuary in the rear full primarily of skulls. These aren’t very old and any damage to them is indicative of cause of death, so you can recreate in your head what happened when you see machete slashes and fractures on the skulls.

They’re stacked in grids like cookies in an oven and by my quick math, there are around 3,000 in the backyard basement body storage facilities.


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