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Arusha, February 27, 2007 (FH)- A witness Tuesday accused Father Emmanuel Rukundo, the second Catholic priest being tried for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of having kidnapped Tutsi refugees in 1994 after setting a trap for them. A former military chaplain, Rukundo, 46, is charged with four counts for massacres of Tutsis in Central Rwanda. He has pleaded not guilty. The protected witness “AMA,” a Tutsi, alleged that in May 1994, the priest, escorted by six soldiers and in military uniform, came to his refugee camp and took away fifteen refugees after resorting to a subterfuge. “He told us, don’t be scared, I am the Father Emmanuel Rukundo who is in charge of giving you food,” accused the witness. AMA is the fourteenth prosecution witness in this trial which started November 15, 2006. “These people left with him but did not come back. We awaited their return in vain. We thought that they had been killed,” said the witness. The prosecutor alleges that Rukundo went several times to various places around the diocese of Kabgayi to seek out Tutsi refugees to kill. The witness declared that at his arrival at the site – called CND in Kabgayi (in reference to the Tutsi rebel camp in the city of Kigali), Rukundo “told us: if you are attacked, call for help, cry out and these cries will alert us.” The prosecutor alleges that after each one of his numerous visits to “CND”, “soldiers and Interahamwe militiamen, acting under the plan, instigating, or orders of RUKUNDO and these other visitors, took away some Tutsi seeking refuge there and inflicted serious bodily and mental harm upon them.” According to the witness, soldiers, who were members of Rukundo’s escort, took away Tutsi girls and raped them. The witness, who then was heard in closed session for security reasons, nevertheless did not confirm the Rukundo’s repeated visits to his refugee camp such as those alleged by the prosecutor. “Unless he came at the time when I was sick or when I wasn’t close to the gate,” he told the Court. Rukundo was arrested in Switzerland on July 12, 2001. The first Catholic priest tried before the ICTR, Father Athanase Seromba, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison last December. His trial is in appeal. AT/KD © Hirondelle News Agency