Rwanda: Catholic bishops apologize for church’s role in genocide

The Catholic Church in Rwanda apologized on Sunday for the church's role in the 1994 genocide, saying it regretted the actions of those who participated in the massacres, reports Associated Press.

"We apologize for all the wrongs the church committed. We regret that church members violated (their) oath of allegiance to God's commandments," said the statement by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was read out in parishes across the country.

The statement acknowledged that church members planned, aided and executed the genocide.

Many of the victims died at the hands of priests, clergymen and nuns, according to some accounts by survivors, and the Rwandan government says many died in the churches where they had sought refuge.

The bishops' statement is seen as a positive development in Rwanda's efforts at reconciliation.

In 1994, in Rwanda a passenger plane with President Juvénal Habyarimana and the head of neighboring Burundi Cyprien Ntaryamira on board was shot down by the unknown. After that, representatives of the Hutu tribe, representing the ethnic majority of Rwanda, accused the Tutsi tribe of the attack. The tribal conflict resulted in the genocide of Tutsis and armed confrontation between the two tribes. According to various sources, over 100 days from 800 thousand to 1 million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists.

As reported earlier, in Rwanda 118 people took Orthodoxy.
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