"I saw him attend the scene with other senior officers of the camp, without intervening. I could not say if he was powerless or voluntarily passive. I did not see him give orders in one way or another ", he said before the Crown Court charged with the trial of the former major of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) for these killings.
According to him, certain senior officers, but not Ntuyahaga, would have initially tried, "in vain", to disperse the Rwandan soldiers who attacked the Belgian soldiers in the enclosure of the camp. They had been taken there after being disarmed at Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana's residence, which they ensured the escort.
From his quarters, near the entry of the camp, Apedo Kodjo attended the arrival of the ten Belgian peacekeepers and of the five Ghanaians. "Ntuyahaga arrived in a minibus driven by a driver, with the peacekeepers, accompanied by two or three armed soldiers", he stated. He confirmed that the UN peacekeeping force no longer had their weapons. He situates their arrival at around 7:30 am, whereas the radio communications of the Belgian soldiers at the Prime Minister's would place it around 9:00 am.
According to the Togolese soldier, Bernard Ntuyahaga would have left the camp with the vehicle right after having dropped off the UN peacekeepers.
According to him, they did not seem anxious. "Some smoked in front of my office. Lieutenant Lotin said to some of his men to calm themselves, that they were not in Somalia. A few minutes later, they started to be hit"
In his office, Lotin, the head of the Belgian platoon, would have explained to him that they had been guaranteed transport to a "safe place" in exchange of their weapons. Little after, at 9:06 am, he sent on the UN observer‘s radio a message of distress to his superiors: his men remained outside and were being hit "with blows from rifles and bayonets", Apedo specified. Certain peacekeepers took refuge in the quarters of the UN observer who had also informed his hierarchy.
He only saw Ntuyahaga "half an hour later, on the place d'armes, isolated, whereas officers returning from Headquarters tried to disperse the attackers. He did nothing. Afterwards, I did not see him"
Apedo did not see the former Rwandan major either spreading rumour accusing the Belgians of firing, the day before, on the presidential plane: "It is only when soldiers started to hit and that I begged them to stop that some said that to me. I do not know who spread this rumour"
After having on several occasions requested for the soldiers to stop their blows, the Togolese officer was himself threatened. "We do not have problems with Blacks", would have finally said a Rwandan officer to him before taking him and the five Ghanaian peacekeepers to the neighbouring military college.
Apedo Kodjo had, prior, vainly asked for the evacuation of four Belgians "already agonizing". Once at the military college, where he crossed General Dallaire, head of UNMIR (the United Nations), which he informed of the situation, he heard rumours: "the Rwandan sergeant who accompanied me said to me that it was the other Belgians that had to be killed"
In addition, he specified that, as of 5:00 am, "soldiers circulated in the camp. It was not their usual movements, and they were armed ", whereas the soldiers of the Rwandan army could not take their weapons in the stores in the absence of the UN military observer. The seals were forced that night of the 6 to the 7, explained Apedo.
"The units of the camp were gathered on the place d'armes when the minibus arrived", he continued. According to him, an order is "generally" given for this kind of gathering "which was not spontaneous".
© Agence Hirondelle