Montreal, 2 April 2008 (FH) - The families of two Canadian priests, who were murdered in 1994 and 1997 in Rwanda, have lamented over the inaction of their government to apprehend the killers of their relatives.

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The two killed priests are: Fathers Claude Simard and Guy Pinard.

"We have not had any news from the Canadian government since death of my brother. We have never received anything ", stated during a press conference in Montreal Gilles Pinard, brother of Father Guy Pinard.

Guy Pinard had lived in Rwanda for nearly 35 years when he was murdered on 2 February 1997. He had finished celebrating mass at Kampanga Church, close to Ruhengeri, north-western Rwanda.

"He was killed because he was a witness to death of three Spanish doctors working for the organization Medecins du Monde," claimed Gilles Pinard.

He further added: "Guy Pinard had discovered a mass grave of 80 bodies in the schoolyard of the village where he worked. The army wanted to silence him".

Spanish lawyer Jordi Palou-Loverdos, who attended the press conference, alleged that the instigator of the murder was Lieutenant-Colonel Karake Karenzi, chief of the military intelligence services at the time who is current Assistant Commander of the UN and African Union Forces in Sudan.

Mr Karenzi's name appears on the list of 40 former high ranking members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the former Tutsi party of the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, who are subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Spanish Judge in February 2008.

Mr Palou-Loverdos claimed that the International police's (INTERPOL) attention has been drawn to the case some two weeks ago.

Father Simard was murdered with a hammer on 18 October 1994 in Ruyenzi, southern Rwanda, where he resided. He had returned from Kigali after informing the Rwandan authorities of the disappearances and murders observed in his commune of residence.

Mr Palou-Loverdos stated that Spanish court attributed Father Simard's murder to Fred Ibingira, who then commanded the 157th battalion of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

The Spanish lawyer, who represents the families of Catalans and Rwandans murdered after the 1994 genocide, alleged that the two Canadian priests were killed because "they constituted awkward witnesses who knew a lot about the massacres which had taken place in the communes where they lived".

"We thank the Spanish lawyer, who gave us some tips on this tragedy and we hope that Canada does as much", Gilles Pinard stressed.

Coincidentally, as the press conference was taking place, Maxime Bernier, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, was visiting the UN and the African Union troops deployed in Sudan.

Contacted in Sudan by the Journal de Montreal, the Canadian Minister denied to have ever met Karenzi. "This name does not say anything to me", he said.

However, he said that he would assign his office to compile a file concerning the death of the two Canadian priests. "I will then be able to give the position of the Canadian government", said Bernier.


© Hirondelle News Agency