Rwanda Genocide Fugitive Arrested in Congo

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One of the most notorious fugitives in Rwanda’s history has been arrested by Interpol in Congo.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa is one of the top nine most-wanted criminals for his role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. Ntaganzwa had been at large for the last 21 years until he was arrested in the eastern Congo city of Goma on Monday.

 

Orchestrating and leading a massacre

The UN’s international criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has cited charges related to participation in genocide and incitement to commit genocide. He is accused of being substantially involved in the planning, preparation and execution of a massacre that killed over 20,000 ethnic Tutsis at Cyahinda parish.

On April 15, 1994, Ntaganzwa rallied a crowd of gendarmes, Burundi refugees and Hutu civilians to march on the parish. Armed with a gun and speaking over a megaphone, he ordered the Tutsis to lay down their arms once the parish had been surrounded.

He then gave the order and directed the attack, where armed gendarmes and police opened fire on the crowd, while Burundi refugees and Hutus – armed with machetes – killed those who tried to escape.

Ntaganzwa himself also shot into the crowd, killing five Tutsis in his first attack on the ethnic group, before he returned to the parish on April 16, 17  and 18 to conclude his assault.

 

Further charges

Ntaganzwa is also accused of leading the massacres of Tutsis in Gasasa Hill, Maraba sector, Nkomero Trading Centre, Kigembe commune and those trying to escape genocide in Nkakwa sector. He’s also wanted for allegedly ordering the rape of women caught up in the violence.

After 21 years on the run, Ntaganzwa had a $5m bounty placed on his head by the US state department’s Rewards for Justice programme. Eight other key figures involved in the 1994 atrocities remain at large more than two decades after their crimes.

 

Featured image:

Père-Lachaise – Division 88 – Rwanda genocide memorial 01” by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.