Brussels, 7 June 2007 (FH) - Two Rwandan gendarmes who had come to testify in Brussels at the trial OF Major Bernard Ntuyahaga on 24 May have disappeared before their return to Rwanda, scheduled for two days after their testimonies; learned the Hirondelle agency.

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After their return, on the trial day, to the buildings of the federal police force, which lodges the witnesses of the trial, they would have left, leaving some personal effects behind, and have not reappeared since.

The two men, in possession of valid passports and visas that expire at the end of July, were free to move about. Their disappearance has nevertheless been announced.

At the time of their testimonies, the two gendarmes had shared their concerns for their safety and had asked that their names not be quoted in the media.

Assigned to the protection of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, they were present at the morning of 7 April at her residence when the Belgian peacekeepers were forced to disarm before being taken by Bernard Ntuyahaga to the military camp of Kigali where they were later killed.

The former major, Bernard Ntuyahaga, is suspected by Belgian justice of having taken part in these killings.

They had nevertheless both ensured not to have seen the officer of the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF) at the residence of Agathe Uwlingiyimana.

One of them had also surprised the court while reconsidering former statements that he had made according to which Bernard Ntuyahaga would have directed the military operations in the district of Kyovu where the Prime Minister lived. He had guaranteed to have had spoken "about another Ntuyahaga, also a major". The credibility of this testimony had been put in doubt by the counsel of the civil parties.

Observers think that the two gendarmes intend to ask for asylum in Belgium or in a nearby country.

In 2005, at the time of the preceding trial related to the Rwandan genocide, more than ten witnesses that came from Rwanda remained in Belgium and requested political asylum.

© Hirondelle News Agency