Arusha, 28 April 2009 (FH) - The eldest of the prisoners of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Yussuf Munyakazi, toured the churches of the prefecture of Cyangugu ,south-western Rwanda, in 1994, and brought death and destruction, according to a witness called to the stand on Monday afternoon.

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A protected witness dubbed "MP" to conceal his identity claimed that Munyakazi carried out the mission of touring the churches with an intention of killing Tutsis who had sought refuge there.

Prosecuted for genocide, complicity in genocide and extermination, Munyakazi, 74, is the eldest of the prisoners of the ICTR.

The witness said that he miraculously escaped an attack launched on 30 April 1994 by Munyakazi and his militia on one of these parish churches.

"Towards 4 P.M. or 5 P.M., he [Munyakazi] arrived at the head of the Interahamwe who were on board two Daihatsu pickups", MP said.

"Led by the defendant, the attackers, around fifty, killed with daggers 60 to 100 people among the refugees", added the survivor.

He claimed that a telephone call had led him know too late of the imminent attack.

According to this testimony, the phone call announced that Munyakazi and his men, after having committed carnage the day before at the parish of Shangi, travelled to MP's place of refuge.

"It was too late, 10 minutes after, I saw them un-loading", alleged the witness; who was still to be cross-examined by Jwani Mwaikusa, Munyakazi's Tanzanian lawyer.

The trial started on April 22.


© Hirondelle News Agency