Africa

Rwanda's President Kagame denounces UK over Karake arrest

General Karenzi Karake Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gen Karake is hailed by many in Rwanda as one of the people who stopped the genocide

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has launched a scathing verbal attack on the UK government after the arrest of his intelligence chief.

In his first comments since the arrest, Mr Kagame said it was a continuation of "colonialism" and accused the British of "arrogance and contempt".

Karenzi Karake was detained at London's Heathrow Airport on Saturday, in response to a European Arrest Warrant.

He is accused of ordering massacres in the wake of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

The president said that the British authorities "must have mistaken [Gen Karake] for an illegal immigrant. The way they treat illegal immigrants is the way they treat all of us".

He added that the British had been patronising, "wagging a finger at the African and telling him this is where you belong. We are no longer the African that belongs there".

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Cherie Booth, former British prime minister Tony Blair's wife, is on Gen Karake's defence team

Gen Karake, 54, appeared in a London court on Thursday and was greeted by cheers and clapping by supporters as he arrived in the courtroom.

A full extradition hearing will take place on 29 and 30 October.

Gen Karake, whose defence team includes Cherie Booth, former British prime minister Tony Blair's wife, said in court that he would fight his extradition.

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Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters say they will not leave the British High Commission in Rwanda until Karenzi Karake is released

In Rwanda, protests have continued outside the British High Commission in the capital, Kigali.

Protesters have threatened to remain until the Gen Karake is released.


Accusations facing Gen Karake:

  • Accused of ordering massacres after the 1994 genocide while head of military intelligence
  • Wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism
  • Accused of ordering the killing of Spanish aid workers in 1997

William Gelling, the UK's High Commissioner to Rwanda, addressed the crowd briefly on Wednesday.

"All I can say is that this was a legal decision as you understand, on behalf of the Spanish legal authorities.

"The UK is a very close partner with Rwanda,'' he said, as quoted by the AP news agency.

Spanish investigative judge Andreu Merelles indicted Gen Karake in 2008 for alleged war crimes, along with 39 other current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials.

He is also accused of ordering the killing in 1997 of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mundo.

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