Arusha, February 4, 2003 (FH)- A prosecution witness in the so-called“Butare trial”, Tuesday claimed that she witnessed Tutsi girls beingabducted at a roadblock manned by a minister's son in April 1994. The girlswere later found dead and sexually assaulted.

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The witness code-named “TB” to keep her identity secret, was testifying atthe International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where six people areon trial for organising and carrying out the genocide in the southern townof Butare. TB said that one of those accused, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, son of theformer minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, haderected a roadblock right in front of their gate on Butare's main street. She described how Ntahobali, together with two soldiers and three young men;Kazungu, Lambert and Jean Pierre, stopped a yellow Daihatsu and removed twogirls from it. “The two soldiers started to forcefully drag the girls towards a nearbybush”, TB narrated. “After a short while, Shalom (Ntahobali) called themback, pulled one of the girls who was dressed in a pair of jeans, a shortblouse and had plaited hair, behind a primary school”. The witness continued that the accused came back alone shortly and told hiscolleagues “to work”, a euphemism used during the genocide to mean killingTutsis. “That evening, we saw the dead girl with braids lying sprawled on her back. Her clothes were torn and she had wounds all over her lower abdomen andthighs, and there was a lot of blood coming from her private parts”, TBsaid. She added that she had seen many people being killed at the road block fromApril 21, 1994 when killings in Butare became widespread. Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, is accused by the prosecution of being a militialeader who widely participated in the massacres in Butare. He is on trialtogether with his mother, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, two former prefects ofButare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, and two former mayors:Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje of Ngoma and Muganza communesrespectively. The tribunal had earlier on Wednesday finished hearing the testimony andcross examination of “QBQ”, a woman who was raped and infected with the HIVvirus during the genocide. She had alleged that Nyiramasuhuko had ordered soldiers and militia to “rapeTutsi girls and women and kill the rest”. The victims had taken refuge atthe prefecture's (province) headquarters. TB's cross examination began in the afternoon and was held in camera. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR composed of JudgeWilliam Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), and Judges Arlette Ramarosonfrom Madagascar and Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. . KN/CE/FH (BT''0204e)