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Rwanda Confirms Arrest of Intelligence Chief in London

  • James Butty

FILE - The national flag of Rwanda flies amongst other flags.

FILE - The national flag of Rwanda flies amongst other flags.

Rwanda has confirmed that its intelligence chief, General Karenzi Karake, who is wanted in Spain for alleged war crimes, has been arrested in London.

Karake is accused of ordering a number of massacres while head of military intelligence during the 1994 genocide. The BBC reports that Karake was arrested Saturday at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said the government is seeking clarification from British authorities on the reasons for Karake’s arrest.

“Our intelligence chief was in London for seven days, from the previous Saturday to this gone Saturday. And, on his way back, he was prevented from boarding his flight and was not allowed to proceed home. He was detained at the airport and then transferred to another place,” he said.

Busingye said Karake is due in court Thursday and Kigali wants more information on the case.

“We are expecting more information and clarification from the United Kingdom government. We are working with the relevant institutions to find out exactly what is going on. Until now, I think, we are treating it as a case which is going to court on Thursday,” Busingye said.

Busingye declined any comment on whether Karake was arrested because of his alleged involvement in massacres while head of military intelligence.

“I expect that anybody who is arrested must have done something one minute ago or two minutes ago. So, I wouldn’t want to speculate at this point. I want to wait and see what happens either from the United Kingdom government between now and Thursday or from the courtroom on Thursday,” Busingye said.

He said Rwanda enjoys good relations with the United Kingdom and the Rwandan Foreign Affairs office has had some discussions with the British Foreign Office about the arrest. Busingye declined to say what was discussed.

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo protested the arrest on Twitter, saying "Western solidarity in demeaning Africans is unacceptable!" She called the arrest "an outrage."

Karake, a member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), is one of 40 current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials named in a 2008 Spanish indictment for alleged war crimes.

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