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Editorial: France needs to come clean on Kabuga

It was one piece of news that the coronavirus could not bury after luck finally abandoned the most wanted man in Africa, the notorious Félicien Kabuga who has been on the run for the past 26 years.

Luck must have had something to do with it for him to elude justice and bounty hunters all these years seeing that the United States had put a $5 million bounty on his head.


But still, he managed to stay ahead of law enforcement mainly by buying protection from corrupt politicians, especially when he was living in Kenya in 1997.


The timing of Kabuga’s arrest is quite significant, it comes two days short to the day when, 26 years ago when the United Nations finally confirmed, albeit reluctantly, that “acts of genocide may have been committed”.


It was a genocide that Kabuga played a significant role, having been among the planners and financers of the project. Just before the genocide, he was linked with the importation of millions of machetes which were used to cut down Tutsis.

In order to prepare the ground and minds of extremist gangs, an equally extremist radio station, the notorious, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) of which he was the main shareholder, was launched on July 8, 1993. Nine months later, all hell broke loose all over the country.

It is not his capture that stands out, but the fact he was living in Paris ever since he left Kenya in a hurry. The question that comes to mind is; were French authorities really unaware that such a high profile fugitive was on its territory? That is an explanation the French owe Rwandans, especially Kabuga’s victims.

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