The Hutu popular militia were called Interhamwe. They came into this church and killed every Tutsi (“cockroaches” ) hiding inside. They generally used spears, clubs, machetes and hoes, as bullets did not cause enough pain even though guns were readily available to them. Strangely enough this militia was made up of normal people (Hutus) and they were more often than not the neighbours of the people they were hunting and brutally killing. There are many thousands of stories such as this excerpt from one of the survivors, Anne-Marie:
“..I could hear those who had taken him (my husband)away saying they had killed a ‘cockroach’, and I knew he was dead. One soldier came up to the house. I was sitting with my baby boy on my lap. He grabbed the child and threw him against the wall. He died from the impact. I ran to pick up my baby’s body but the soldier threatened me and told me to lie down. And there he raped me….”
The pews in the next memorial Church, Ntarama, are filled with clothes and the walls stained with blood. The roof is strewn with tiny holes that look like stars but are in fact the places where grenades blew people to pieces. The Virgin Mary looks down on thousands of clothes piles on the pews.
These are remnants of the people killed here. The guide told me that he sought refuge in the Church with his family when the massacre began. He lost his entire family of eight and saw them all being killed including his parents. He hid quietly under bodies and in the blood that lay up to 50 cm deep on the floor. He waited for two days like that, with his head in a hole in the wall so that he would not sneeze from the tear gas the Hutu’s used to identify the living so they could be stabbed. He managed to escape and hide in a hole outside for a further five days. Then he got hungry and had to come out for potatoes.