News

Félicien Kabuga, the “treasurer of the Rwandan genocide”, was arrested in France

The photo released after the arrest of Felicien Kabuga
The photo released after the arrest of Felicien Kabuga

French police arrested one of the latest key suspects wanted in the Rwandan genocide on Saturday. Félicien Kabuga, who was one of the richest men in the African country and is accused of being “the treasurer of the genocide”, lived under a false identity in the Paris suburbs, the prosecutor's office and police reported in a joint statement.

The operation, carried out at dawn, led to the arrest of the fugitive, "Wanted by the judicial authorities for 25 years", according to the statement. At least 800,000 people, the majority belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group, were massacred in 100 days by Hutu extremists during the 1994 massacre.

The statement notes that Kabuga, 84, lived in Asnieres-sur-Seine, north of Paris, and was hiding with the complicity of his children. He is accused of being one of the creators and the main financier of the fearsome militias Interahamwe, who carried out the mass murders. It also helped create the equally notorious Free Radio-Television of the Thousand Hills, that in its broadcasts it incited people to join the massacres.

Readers look at a June 12, 2002 newspaper in Nairobi bearing the photograph of Rwandan Felicien Kabuga wanted by the United States (REUTERS / George Mulala / File Photo)
Readers look at a June 12, 2002 newspaper in Nairobi bearing the photograph of Rwandan Felicien Kabuga wanted by the United States (REUTERS / George Mulala / File Photo)

"Félicien Kabuga is known to have financed the Rwanda genocide"French authorities said in the statement. Adding that, before settling in the country, he had spent time in Belgium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Kenya and Switzerland.

A senior United Nations prosecutor welcomed the arrest, saying it showed that the suspects would not go unpunished for the atrocities they committed in 1994. "The arrest of Kabuga is a reminder that those responsible for the genocide can be brought to justice, even 26 years after their crimes," said Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Courts in The Hague.

Bones of victims of genocide found in a mass grave discovered in April 2018 (AFP)

Bones of victims of genocide found in a mass grave discovered in April 2018 (AFP)

Genocide

Rwanda had 8 million inhabitants in the early 1990s. 89.9% were Hutus and 9.8% were Tutsis. The conflict between these two ethnic groups had been around for centuries, although it had not always been resolved through violence.

READ  SEP Learn at Home: class schedules for May 18 for preschool, primary and

European colonization - first German and then Belgian - was a first escalation in the confrontation, which worsened after the country's independence in 1962. The Civil War that began in 1990 with the rebellion of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) against the Hutu regime of Juvénal Habyarimana it was the prelude to genocide.

Fighters of the Patriotic Front walk on June 16 next to the body of a woman killed days before by hutus (AFP)
Fighters of the Patriotic Front walk on June 16 next to the body of a woman killed days before by hutus (AFP)

On April 6, 1994, the dictator's official plane was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles as he was preparing to land at the capital's airport, Kigali. Habyarimana, who had promoted the creation of the militias Interahamwe and launched a policy of criminalization of everything that smelled of Tutsi, came to discuss in Tanzania a possible peace agreement promoted by the UN. But he died in the attack.

The remains of some 500 Tutsis killed by Hutu militias in a church on June 17, 1994 (Reuters)
The remains of some 500 Tutsis killed by Hutu militias in a church on June 17, 1994 (Reuters)

No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Suspicions were spread between the RPF and the radicalized Hutus. Both could have reasons to oppose peace. Before the death of the president, it was incumbent on him to assume the leadership of state to Agathe Uwilingiyimana, prime minister. He did, but only lasted a few hours in office. In the early hours of April 7, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a hawk of Hutu supremacism and a leader in Interahamwe, ordered his murder.

A soldier from the Rwandan Patriotic Front examines a nail-covered stick, one of the weapons used by genocides in rural areas (Reuters)
A soldier from the Rwandan Patriotic Front examines a nail-covered stick, one of the weapons used by genocides in rural areas (Reuters)

Bagosora then deployed Army troops throughout the capital and blocked the entrances. No one could leave or enter. Then the carnage began. Soldiers, paramilitaries and armed civilians began to roam the streets of Kigali in search of all the Tutsis, but also the moderate Hutus. Every one they saw was murdered. Radios broadcast the names and addresses of targets and encouraged citizens to go kill them. Days later, the city became impassable due to the foul smell that emanated from the piled up bodies..

Juvénal Habyarimana, dictator of Rwanda between 1973 and 1994
Juvénal Habyarimana, dictator of Rwanda between 1973 and 1994

The same happened in the interior of the country in the following weeks. Municipal authorities coordinated the attacks with the police, the military and the Interahamwe. But it was all bloodier, because instead of rifles and pistols, the genocides used machetes and wooden sticks covered with nails. They went house to house with the intention that no one would come out alive. In just three months, between 800,000 - according to the UN - and 1,200,000 - according to the current Rwandan government - people were killed. 75% of Rwanda's Tutsi population was exterminated.

READ  The author of the most controversial book about Michael Jordan revealed the “lies” of The Last Dance
Soldiers from the Patriotic Front inspect the remains of the plane that was carrying Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 (Reuters)
Soldiers from the Patriotic Front inspect the remains of the plane that was carrying Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 (Reuters)

The FPR, led by Paul Kagame, moved as soon as the massacre began. He ended the peace talks and led a series of targeted attacks. Little by little, he was capturing cities of different sizes, and was approaching Kigali. In its wake, it added more and more recruits among the survivors, who found in the FPR the only refuge from certain death. In that period, there were also indiscriminate killings of Tutsis against Hutus.

In the midst of civil war, rebel fighters load mortars and ammunition onto a truck (Reuters)
In the midst of civil war, rebel fighters load mortars and ammunition onto a truck (Reuters)

The genocide and civil war ended on July 4, with the triumph of Kagame's forces, who became a new dictator and never again left power. A quarter of a century later, Rwanda is a relatively stable country, which comes from a long period of economic growthBut it still struggles to digest the aftermath of the largest ethnic cleansing in modern African history.

Paul Kagame, leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and President of Rwanda, at the funeral of the late former President of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi, on February 11, 2020 (REUTERS / Njeri Mwangi)
Paul Kagame, leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and President of Rwanda, at the funeral of the late former President of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi, on February 11, 2020 (REUTERS / Njeri Mwangi)

With information from AFP

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC:

25 years after the "African holocaust": how the genocide in Rwanda happened and why

Controversial contract: one of the poorest countries will sponsor one of the richest clubs in the world

Between newsroom and prison: harassment of the last journalists in Rwanda

About the author

Avatar

Sam Conley

Sam Conley is new to online journalism but she is keen to learn. She is an MBA from a reputed university. She brings together relevant news pieces from various industries. She loves to share quick news updates. She is always in search of interesting news so that she can share them as well to Sunriseread's readers who could enjoy them with their morning coffee.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Quick Contact!

To get in touch with Sunriseread or to tell us about a Story or Press Release, just send an email to lindahopkins128 @ gmail.com
. And, we will get back to you shortly.