Rwandan top dissident Paul Rusesabagina arrested

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The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) Monday paraded before journalists in Rwandan capital city Kigali, a top Rwandan dissident Paul Rusesabagina, suspected of numerous terrorism activities in the country.

Rusesabagina, 66, dressed in dark suit and tie was driven to RIB offices in Kigali in a police van, and led by three police officers before journalists at around 10.25 a.m. local time.

Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits, including Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) and PDR-Ihumure, operating out of various places in the region and abroad, Thierry Murangira, the acting spokesperson of RIB told reporters, reading a prepared statement.

Rusesabagina has been subject of an international arrest warrant, wanted to answer charges of serious crime, including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, including in Nyabimata, in Nyaruguru district in June 2018 and in Nyungwe, Nyamagabe district in December 2018, he added.

Without divulging details on when and where the suspect was arrested, Murangira, said Rusesabagina was arrested “through international cooperation.”

When asked by journalists, Murangira didn’t name the countries which helped to enforce the arrest, noting that investigations are still ongoing and divulging such information could jeopardize investigations.

He warned that all the suspects involved in the highlighted crimes will be arrested, because “there is international cooperation and capacity.”

“No one can kill Rwandans and go scot free. It is a matter of time,” he warned.

He added that the suspect is currently detained at Remera police station in Kigali as his case file is being processed in accordance with Rwandan criminal procedure.

Rusesabagina was known to live in exile, where he roamed countries lecturing on Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against Tutsi in which an estimated 1m people were killed in a period of 100 days.

Rusesabagina inspired the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, in which he was depicted as having sheltered people during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

The 2004 film Hotel Rwanda narrated the story of how Rusesabagina as a hotel manager of Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali, used his power to bribe and convince military officials of the ex-Rwandan army during the genocide, to secure a safe escape for about 1,200 people who had sought refuge at the hotel.

But Rwandan umbrella of genocide survivors’ organization (IBUKA) has previously said Rusesabagina had exaggerated his own role in helping hotel refugees escape the massacre.

In June, The Rwanda Investigations Bureau paraded before journalists 57 rebel suspects, who it said were arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on charges of terrorism, and formation of an armed group to destabilize Rwanda.

Col Mark Nizeyimana, one of the suspects, who then said belonged to Rwandan terror group reportedly based in the DRC, the National Liberation Front (FLN) told reporters that their rebel activities were being sponsored by “foreigners and some Rwandans such as Paul Rusesabagina.” 

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