The Prince of Wales faced a grim legacy of the Rwandan genocide as he urged the world never to repeat the horrors of the atrocities.
Charles stared at rows of skulls of victims of the 1994 atrocity during a visit to a mass grave today.
He and his wife Camilla dedicated the day to attending events to recognize the trauma of survivors and to hear the stories of those who lost their lives.
The heir to the throne said “this must never happen again, we will continue to remember it” as he visited Nyamata Church’s Genocide Memorial.
In just two days, more than 10,000 people were murdered in the church building during the Tutsi genocide.
Earlier, Charles and Camilla toured the Kigali Genocide Memorial and showed them the personal testimonies of families who donated pictures of smiling children and listed touching personal details about their loved ones.
The couple carefully read the comments about the murdered teenagers and Charles responded by saying, “Terrible, happens all too often”. Camilla lamented “what people can do to people”.
The Duchess became friends with a genocide survivor during her visit when she was hugged by Uzamukunda Walida, who was gang raped but is now open about her experience.
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi community in Rwanda were slaughtered by ethnic Hutu extremists.
The Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial, south of the Rwandan capital of Kigali, contains the remains of more than 45,000 people killed on the church grounds and in the wider area between April 7 and May 14, 1994.
A total of 800,000 people, including three-quarters of the country’s Tutsi minority, died in Rwanda’s 100-day slaughter this year.
Charles heard the militiamen killing Tutsi men outside the church who were trying to protect their families before turning on the women and children hiding inside.
“They threw in hand grenades and then shot and chopped up a lot of them,” said Rachel Murekatete, the director of the memorial, who showed Charles around and pointed out hundreds of holes in the church’s wooden roof caused by shrapnel from the blasts.
Down in a basement, the prince was shown display cases containing the skulls and bones of victims who had been cremated after being shot or hacked to death with machetes.
At the memorial in the capital, Charles and his wife Camilla had laid a wreath in memory of the victims, and outside the church, an hour’s drive from Kigali, he left another floral tribute and a handwritten message in the local language, Kinyarwanda.
He said: “We will always remember the innocent souls killed in the Tutsi genocide in April 1994. Be strong Rwanda. Karl.’
Afterwards, Ms. Murekatete said the prince was moved by what he saw.
She added, “He said, ‘This must never happen again, we will continue to remember.’
Charles, who met Rwandan President Paul Kagame with his wife during the day, later hailed a reconciliation village as a “wonderful example for the rest of the world” after hearing how survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide live side by side.
He toured the village of Mbyo, built in 2005, where 384 Tutsi and Hutus successfully live and work together, and now the project has established eight more across the country to promote unity and help those who witnessed the atrocities move on .
After listening to the stories of a Hutu perpetrator and a Tutsi whose entire family was killed, he said he was “full of admiration” that they had managed to overcome the past, adding: “It has to be so it must have been difficult to be able to forgive these quite terrible horrors.
“It was enormously encouraging to hear that you now view the situation solely as Rwandans and not as Tutsi and Hutu and I think it sets a wonderful example for the rest of the world.”
Among those who welcomed him to the village was Eric Murangwa, a former footballer who narrowly escaped death during the Genocide, who encouraged Charles to visit the Memorial and Reconciliation Village when they met in Scotland in April.
Charles, representing the Queen, landed in Rwanda with Camilla yesterday for the Commonwealth Heads of Government (Chogm) meeting.
It is the first since 2018 to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Boris Johnson may have an awkward meeting with Charles, who reportedly said earlier this month Britain’s program of sending asylum seekers to the East African country was “appalling”.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/22/charles-and-camilla-shown-skulls-of-rwandan-genocide-victims-at-mass-grave-16876000/ Charles and Camilla displayed skulls of genocide victims in Rwanda at the mass grave