Brussels, 7 june 2007 (FH) - Several witnesses called to testify before the Crown Court of Brussels underlined the responsibility of Major Bernard Ntuyahaga in cleansing operations in the district of Kyovu in Kigali starting on 7 April 1994. I

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n addition to his alleged participation in the killing of the ten Belgian peacekeepers, the former major of the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), Bernard Ntuyahaga would also be implicated in the killing of Rwandan civilians, neighbours living in his district of Kyovu. However he states that he did not return home after 7 April and that he remained at the military camp of Kigali.

According to several witnesses that testified before the Crown Court of Brussels, soldiers came and went in vicinity of the officer. "The soldiers before going out and killing people left Bernard Ntuyahaga's residence and returned or stood in front of his house", stated the servant of Robert Schriewer, former Belgian co-operator. He and his wife said to have heard "festival noises ", laughter and songs, at Ntuyahaga's, whose house was next to theirs, on the 7th and the following days.

A road block held by soldiers, where "many people were killed", would have been drawn up in front of the major‘s house, according to Laurent Uwimana, gardener in a house of the district. He, however, did not see Bernard Ntuyahaga there.

Leonard Nzaramba, servant in another house, states that the major regularly came to visit in a vehicle "to see how things were going" before going over to the Chief of Defense Staff. According to him and other witnesses, the servant of Ntuyahaga, called "Helmet", present at this road block, would have been armed and dressed in a military uniform.

Robert Schriewer had reported the statements of Alphonse-Marie Nkubito, former Minister of Justice, today deceased and his neighbour at the time, according to which the defendant would have been responsible for massacres in the district.

Wednesday, Bernard Ntuyahaga was, notably, blamed for the murder of Emmanuel Nkundabagenzi and his family, on the 8th. The soldiers that would have killed them would have come from the major's house, according to a witness. Faustin Murangwa would have even seen Ntuyahaga accompanying them. A few days after, soldiers would have come to plunder the house of Mr. Nkundabagenzi to carry furniture to Bernard Ntuyahaga's residence.

According to Coming Ndamage, at the time head of service at the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) and close to the accused, "Ntuyahaga could not have massacred the family of Emmanuel taking into account their (good) relations". He also ensured not to have heard anything about celebrations in the district.

These testimonies are for the defense circumstantial and created to support, in 1999, an extradition request to Rwanda from Tanzania, where Bernard Ntuyahaga was held.

The former officer is also accused of killing several other civilians and their families in the district of Kyovu and Gitega of Kigali.

© Hirondelle News Agency