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Rwanda Defends Proposed Darfur General Against Human Rights Charges


Rwanda's government is defending a general accused of human rights abuses who has been nominated to be deputy commander of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

A Rwandan exile group, known as the United Democratic Forces-Inkingi, has accused General Karenzi Karake of supervising extra-judicial killings before and after Rwanda's 1994 genocide, and masterminding the assassinations of numerous politicians.

In a statement Tuesday, the Rwandan Foreign Ministry said General Karake is a well-trained and experienced officer who deserves the post of deputy commander.

The ministry said the charges are a "mere fabrication" as well as an attempt to discredit the Rwandan government and confuse the international community.

The U.N. is seeking more information regarding the accusations.

The African Union has confirmed General Karake's appointment. But U.N. sources indicate the world body has not approved the nomination.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 people died, remains a bitter point of dispute among Rwandans both inside and outside the country.

Some politicans, including President Bush, refer to the situation in Sudan's Darfur region as a genocide.

Four years of fighting in the region have killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced more than two million others. The U.N.-AU peacekeeping force of 26,000 will have the job of protecting civilians in Darfur.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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