Rwanda: Bernard Munyagishari arrested for genocide

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The skulls of Rwandan victims rest on shelves at a genocide memorial inside the church at Ntarama just outside the capital Kigali
Image caption,
An estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days in 1994

A Rwandan genocide suspect on the run for 17 years has been arrested in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bernard Munyagishari is accused of being a militia leader who masterminded the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Gisenyi in 1994.

He was caught in an operation mounted by the Congolese army in collaboration with a tracking team from the UN court trying genocide suspects.

Some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 100-day genocide.

Nine other Rwandans accused of being key perpetrators of the genocide are still at large.

Church attacks

The BBC's East Africa correspondent Will Ross says Mr Munyagishari, once a teacher and football referee, was apprehended in North Kivu in eastern DR Congo - where many who took part in the 1994 genocide have been hiding and causing misery for the Congolese population.

Mr Munyagishari faces charges of genocide, murder and rape and is expected to be handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the court based in Tanzania set up to try the ringleaders of the genocide.

According to the indictment, he was the leader of the Interahamwe Hutu militia in Gisenyi in the west of the country.

He trained the fighters in the forests of Rwanda and armed them with the aim of wiping out the ethnic Tutsi population.

He is also accused of instigating attacks on churches where people had sought shelter.

The indictment added that he ordered a female militia group, headed by his wife, to sexually torture Tutsi women before killing them.

Our correspondent says one of the nine genocide suspects still at large is Felicien Kabuga, widely believed to have been protected for years by powerful politicians in Kenya.

Last week the chief prosecutor at the ICTR tribunal said the Kenyan government could be doing more to apprehend him.

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