The Prince of Wales faced the horrors of the Rwandan genocide as he urged the world not to repeat the atrocities.
On a horrific start to a three-day country visit, Prince Charles I saw rows of skulls from the victims of the 1994 massacre and heard the stories of survivors.
He visited the Nyama Genocide Church memorial, where over 10,000 people were killed over the course of two days. In the grounds, the remains of the more than 45,000 people killed in the church complex and the wider area between April 7 and May 14, 1994 are interred.
After being shown a case containing a skull remains, Charles said: “This must never happen again, and we will continue to be remembered.”
Charles heard how militiamen killed Tutsi men outside the church trying to protect their families, before turning on the women and children sheltering inside.
“They threw grenades inside and then shot and pierced many of them to death,” said Rachel Morcatetti, the director of the monument, who showed Charles nearby and pointed out hundreds of holes in the church’s wooden ceiling caused by shrapnel from the explosions.
In 1994, up to a million people died during the 100 days of pogroms in Rwanda, in which members of the Tutsi community were murdered by Hutu extremists.
Earlier, Charles and Camilla toured the Kigali Genocide Memorial and presented the personal testimonies of families who donated photos of smiling children and included touching personal details of their loved ones.
The couple read with interest the comments about the killing of the youngsters, and Charles responded with: “Terrible, it happens a lot.”
His wife replied, “What can a man do to a man.”
Genocide victims and perpetrators live side by side
Later, Charles, who during the day met Rwandan President Paul Kagame with his wife, hailed Reconciliation Village as a “fantastic 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 Mbio, built in 2005, where 384 Tutsis and Hutus successfully live and work together.
After hearing the stories of one Hutu perpetrator and one Tutsi, whose entire family was murdered, he said it was “full of admiration” that they had been able to overcome the past, adding: “You must have been very hard to be able to. Forgive these terrible atrocities. .
“It was very encouraging to hear how you now look at the whole situation as a Rwandan, rather than a Tutsi and Hutu, and that’s a great example I think for the rest of the world.”
Among those who greeted him in the village was Eric Morangwa, a former footballer who narrowly escaped death during the genocide, and who encouraged Charles to visit the village of Memorial and Reconciliation when they met in Scotland in April.
Charles reportedly criticizes UK plan to deport Rwanda
The prince has clearly been keen to focus on reconciliation efforts after reports emerged in the run-up to the Rwanda tour that he may have criticized the UK government’s plans to send migrants into the country.
Reports indicated that he secretly said that he is Terrible of the new immigration policy.
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Clarence House confirmed it Boris Johnson will join Charles For a cup of tea and later moments on Friday morning as the Prime Minister also travels to Kigali for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.