Brussels, 21 May 2007 (FH) - Laurent Nubaha, the Commander of the military camp where the ten Belgian peacekeepers were killed in 1994, died on Saturday in a hospital in Brussels. He was expected to appear before the Crown Court that is trying the alleged responsible of these killings, Major Bernard Ntuyahaga.
Nubaha, who was in hiding for 11 years in the Congolese forest, was brought back by Ntuyahaga's lawyer, Luc De Temmermann, on the opening day of the trial. He was suffering from advanced cirrhosis of the liver.
Since the announcement of his hospitalization, rumours of poisoning have being rampant notably due to Mr. De Temmermann had announced, in a dramatic manner, in the presentation of his defense that he had brought back from Kinshasa, a witness who was going finally to reveal the truth.
The federal prosecutor had criticized this unusual initiative, the Flemish lawyer having, in addition, evoked "political preventions" with the arrival of this witness who had never been heard by justice.
Colonel Nubaha was the commander of the Kigali military camp where the ten Belgian peacekeepers were taken by Bernard Ntuyahaga, the morning of April 7 1994, before being killed. According to De Temmermann, Nubaha was present and tried to stop the massacre.
Nubaha was questioned by Belgian investigators on his arrival. On 2 May, he had written to the Court to complain about their behaviour. "They hear what they want to hear", he would have said to his brother-in-law.
According to his brother-in-law, Nubaha wanted "to correct his version" after the reading by a counsel for the plaintiffs of an extract of his alleged statements published afterwards in the press. Unexpectedly, this extract contradicted the account of Bernard Ntuyahaga.
"I learnt that Bernard Ntuyahaga left the army headquarters for Agathe Uwilingimana's house [located in the enclosure of the Kigali camp] with a van to take the peacekeepers. She wanted to go on the radio to seize power; it was necessary to prevent her. I am unaware of why they were disarmed. I do not know why they were taken to the camp rather than to an UNAMIR base. I do not know from whom he received the order; perhaps of the person that chaired the High Command meeting or from Bagosora who had all control ", stated Nubaha in sometimes contradictory answers in his complete statement read to the Court on May 9.
Major Bernard Ntuyahaga always alleged that he had come across the disarmed peacekeepers by chance, on the way from his residence to the military camp, in the vicinity of the residence of the Prime Minister. He always denied to have acted on orders. During his examination, Ntuyahaga criticized Nubaha's sources.
© Hirondelle News Agency