African Rights unearths Genocide fugitive in Malawi

LILONGWE - African Rights, a human rights watchdog has released a new report that says the key architect in the massacres in Nyanza town during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, is freely running a business in Malawi.
Nzigiyimfura’s shop in Lilongwe..
Nzigiyimfura’s shop in Lilongwe..

LILONGWE - African Rights, a human rights watchdog has released a new report that says the key architect in the massacres in Nyanza town during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, is freely running a business in Malawi.

The release of the report coincides with the date the massacres began in the town which is in the Southern Province.

The 38-page report by African Rights details accounts from survivors, self-confessed participants in the killings and other witnesses of how Vincent Nzigiyimfura, a former businessman in Nyanza town, spearheaded the killings.

Nzigiyimfura, who has since changed his names to Vincent Nzigiye, is a resident of the Malawian capital Lilongwe from where he has continued to operate his businesses ‘uninterruptedly’.

The report named ‘Vincent Nzigiyimfura in Malawi: A pillar of the 1994 Genocide’ details testimonies from prisoners who allegedly participated alongside with the man, most of whom saying he actually ordered them to kill the Tutsi.

“He collaborated with military officers, politicians, local government officials, businessmen and civilians who were at the heart of killings in Nyanza, Kavumu, Remera, and in many other locations in Nyabisindu and Kigoma,” reads the report in part.

It is also indicated in the report that the fugitive worked closely with Celestin Ugirashebuja, a former Bourgmestre of Kigoma, who is among the four fugitives whose extradition to Rwanda was blocked by the London High Court earlier this month.

Nzigiyimfura, according to the African Rights report, is also accused of facilitating the escape of several suspects, members of his family, wanted for their role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Several accounts of witnesses in the report indicate that the fugitive who operates a store, Nzigiye Shopping Center” in the old business centre of Lilongwe, Area 2, used his financial muscle to influence residents to kill, using his personal vehicles to transport militiamen to their killing destinations.

According to sources, Nzigiyimfura’s name has also featured prominently in different Gacaca sessions in the region where he is pinned to having supervised the establishment of roadblocks at different points during the Genocide, with the aim of identifying and later killing the Tutsi.

However, it could not be established by press time whether the fugitive has been indicted by the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit which operates under the National Public Prosecution Authority.

The Southern African Connection

It is indicated in the report that just like many other fugitives, Nzigiyinfura, the president of the association “Rwandans Living in Malawi” , has always moved unabated between the Democratic Republic of Congo and different Southern African countries.

Different reports have indicated that several fugitives have been conducting business between the DRC and Southern African countries that include Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Over a dozen fugitives have had their indictments sent to these countries by prosecution through the ministry of Foreign Affairs but no arrest has so far been made.

Among the prominent cases, it includes that of Callixte Gakwaya, a lawyer who had been working with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) but after government sent his notice to the court, managed to escape and went back to Mozambique from where he had established a law firm.

Gakwaya, who was also wanted for his role in the Genocide, is however reported to have since died of an unknown disease.

This is the ninth of African Rights series, “charge Sheets” against prominent perpetrators of the Genocide, some of which have led to arrests.

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