Abidjan- Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) -- At the mention of his name Sergeant Yoro Dassehon, alias 'Alexis the Saviour' sprung from his seat as if taken aback by the call ushering him (and eight other gendarmes) to the dock, as hearing began on the Yopougon mass grave discovered in the heat of political unrest in Cote d'Ivoire last December.
Behind his small glasses, the frail-looking gendarme officer can hardly suppress his embarrassment.
"I am Sergeant Yoro Dassehon Alexis the Saviour," he confirmed.
"The Saviour in a trial of killers; this is outrageous indeed," someone whispers in the court audience gathered to follow the case of voluntary homicide in which 57 people were found shot dead.
From that moment, Alexis the saviour became the focus of sustained attention, swaying slightly as a long list of 17 identified victims was read out, and closing his eyes when the judge read the charge containing gruesome details on the massacre.
Not far from him sat Commander Victor Be Kpan of the Abobo gendarmerie company where more than 40 people were reportedly executed before being transported to the site of the Yopougon mass grave.
Although stout and fierce-looking, Be Kpan, like the seven other defendants, appeared tense, teeth clenched as photo-reporters jostled each other for a shot at him.
He slightly regained composure only when counsel for the defence Adje Luc, who is also President of the Ivorian Bar Association, affirmed he was convinced his clients would be acquitted at the end of the trial.
However, a lawyer of the Ivorian Human Rights Movement (MIDH) that plans to file a civil lawsuit on the matter, remarked that "the game is only beginning.
" Fany Mory said that "by the end of the trial, there would be many surprises.