28 November 2012

Rwanda: German Police 'Just Missed' Most Wanted Rwandan Genocide Suspect in 2007

Arusha — German police coming to arrest one genocide suspect in 2007 just missed Félicien Kabuga, the most wanted Rwandan genocide suspect of all, according to the latest edition of Jeune Afrique. Kabuga, the alleged financier of the 1994 genocide, had entered Germany on a false Tanzanian passport, it says.

On September 7, 2007, police knocked on the door of a house near Frankfurt, according to the French publication. Inside was Augustin Ngirabatware, former Rwandan Planning Minister, who is currently awaiting judgment before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. Ngirabatware reacted strangely, taking a USB key out of his pocket and stamping on it to try and destroy it. Police took the damaged key for investigation. Their investigators finally managed to extract some documents, which included a 5,000 Euro hospital bill for a Tanzanian citizen suffering from "chronic respiratory problems", according to Jeune Afrique.

German police managed to trace the passport used by the patient to enter Germany, and asked the Tanzanian authorities for his file. To their surprise, the photo - obtained by Jeune Afrique and printed in its latest edition -- is clearly that of Ngirabatware's 77-year-old father-in-law Félicien Kabuga, the most wanted ICTR fugitive with a 5 million dollar price on his head.

When police returned to the house, Kabuga was gone. But when police showed neighbours the photo, they confirmed they had seen the man moving around with the aid of a walking stick.

Jeune Afrique quotes a source close to the investigation as saying that when police entered the house that first day, Ngirabatware also shouted out several sentences in a language unknown to them. Was it Kinyarwanda, the article asks, and was he talking to his father-in-law? Jeune Afrique says German police probably missed Kabuga by just a few hours ... or even a few metres.

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