Police hunt genocide suspects


Zimbabwe is reportedly investigating the whereabouts of fugitives of the 1994 Rwandan genocide believed to be in the country.
Rwandan refugees staying in Zimbabwe yesterday said police had for the past four months been interrogating them on the whereabouts of the fugitives
The refugees said in separate interviews that officers from the Criminal Investigations Department at Harare Central Police Station questioned them on the whereabouts of Rwandese wanted by the United Nations tribunal trying genocide suspects in Arusha, Tanzania.
But police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said there were no genocide fugitives staying in Zimbabwe.
“Our interest (in questioning resident refugees) is to know who will be entering the country. It’s normal procedure,” Bvudzijena said. “We do not have such people here. We have better ways of investigating such issues.”
International media reports however say the third most wanted fugitive of the genocide, with a $5 million bounty on his head, Protais Mpiranya, could be in Zimbabwe.
“Despite a $5 million bounty, Mpiranya has evaded justice. But his presence has been detected, sometimes in Zimbabwe and sometimes in the Congo,” said The Australian quoting a United Nations source.
Mpiranya was a senior member of Rwanda’s armed forces during the genocide and is accused of being one of the masterminds of the massacres.
The Rwandan refugees said the police showed them pictures of eight people wanted for genocide-related crimes.
Among the suspects whose pictures were allegedly shown to refugees are Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted person and Augustin Bizimana, a former defence minister in Rwanda.
Both men also carry a $5 million price each on their heads.
Reports say Kabuga is hiding in Kenya while Bizimana is believed to be in eastern DRC.
“Officers from the Criminal Investigations Department have been questioning Rwandan refugees for the past four months but no one knows where these people are,” said one refugee, based at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge.
“I heard the police are looking for Rwandese wanted at the UN tribunal but no one knows where they are,” said another based in Harare.
Close to a million Rwandans, from the minority Tutsi ethnic group and politically moderate Hutus were massacred in 100 days of bloodshed.
Those responsible for planning and executing the genocide were apprehended and tried at the UN tribunal in Arusha but others escaped and are scattered all over the world.
The Rwandan government of Paul Kagame says some of the wanted persons are staying in southern African countries.
About 800 Rwandese stay in Zimbabwe as refugees. They are resisting efforts by the Zimbabwean government to repatriate them after the UN refugee agency declared their country safe.
But the refugees have refused saying that the political situation in Rwanda was still tense. They accuse President Kagame of targeting returning refugees.