Arusha, September 13, 2010 (FH)- A survivor of massacres at Nyange Parish in Kivumu Commune, Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), claimed Monday that Tutsis who sought refuge at the church lost hopes of living when their Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana, refused to protect them from attacks launched by Hutus.

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"We sought refuge at the church believing the building is protected by God and we will be saved. Hutus started attacking us. We complained to Ndahimana when he visited the church on April 14, 1994, but he replied that since Inyenzis (Tutsis) have started the war, Hutus will respond," the survivor, who is fourth prosecution witness, said.

Led by trial attorney Segun Jegede, a Nigerian, the witness code named CBN to protect his identity for security reasons was testifying before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) when he claimed further that they were very much worried of their life following remarks given by Ndahimana.

"We were afraid. We understood the government had abandoned us. We were disheartened," the witness told Trial Chamber III presided over by Cameroon Judge Florence Rita Arrey.

According to him, when the attacks intensified on April 15, 1994 he decided to camouflage himself by putting on banana leaves on his clothes like attackers and dodged through them to a nearby bush towards Gitarama prefecture (Central Rwanda), leaving behind his family members, who were all killed at the church.

The trial continues Tuesday. Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crimes against humanity. It is alleged that Ndahimana was responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of Tutsi population between April 6 and 20, 1994.


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