KIGALI - Government yesterday welcomed the arrest in Uganda and extradition to Arusha, of Idelphonse Nizeyimana, one of the most wanted Genocide suspects.
Nizeyimana commonly referred to as the “Queen Killer” for killing Queen Rosalie Gicanda, the wife of the late King Mutara III was arrested by the Ugandan police on Tuesday in a hotel in Kampala and was immediately extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).
The United States had offered a $ 5million reward for his capture under its Reward for Justice Program.
Speaking to The New Times, the Uganda police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba said: “the Genocide suspect was arrested at around midday in Rubaga Exotic Inn, a city suburb hotel with false identifications bearing the names of Hitman Kabogo.”
Rwanda hailed the Uganda Police for arresting the former intelligence chief who was the second-in-command at the Butare-based School for Non-Commissioned Officers (ESO) whose arrest warrant was issued by the ICTR in 2000.
“This is really good news to us. This is a military man who committed atrocities in Butare. He is responsible for killing Queen Gicanda, hundreds of students from the University and many residents of Butare town during the 1994 Genocide.”
“He is a man who closely worked with Tharcisse Muvunyi, another top Genocide suspect who is also in detention to kill thousands of people.
This comes as a relief to us as a country and the people of Butare in particular who suffered at the hands of these men.” said Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.
Nizeyimana is said to have sneaked into Uganda through Bunagana Border post on the side of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) using fake travel documents.
“He was travelling to Kenya from the DRC by the time he was arrested,” Nabakooba told The New Times.
Shortly after his arrest, Nizeyimana was placed on a United Nations plane to the Arusha- based tribunal where he will face Genocide charges. His arrest comes a few months after the arrest of Gregoire Ndahimana, another top Genocide suspect who was also hiding in the DRC.
Who is Nizeyimana?
Idelphonse Nizeyimana was born in the former Gisenyi Prefecture.
He was second-in-command of military operations and intelligence known as S2 and S3 of the School for Non-Commissioned Officers (ESO) in Butare.
He held the rank of captain. In this capacity, he exercised authority over the soldiers and personnel of the camp. In addition, Nizeyimana was a member of “Akazu” a group of close accomplices and advisers to President Habyarimana.
In his capacity, he exercised de facto authority over the officers and soldiers of the ESO and fully participated in the plans to exterminate Tutsis since 1990 to 1994, spreading messages of hate as well as training and arming militias.
Under the instructions of the Interim President Theodore Sindikubwabo, Capt. Nizeyimana incited, facilitated and individually carried out murder, abduction, destruction of property, rape among other acts alongside Interhamwe militas.
Nizeyimana, by the use of his de facto authority reportedly created secret units made up of extremist elements which he entrusted with secret missions.
However one of the most outstanding acts by Nizeyimana took place on the 20th of April 1994.
He ordered the killing of Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda, the widow of King Mutara III and her family members.
She was one of the most adored and idolised queens. She was 80 at the time.
He is also said to have sent ESO soldiers to the National University of Rwanda in Butare to kill all Tutsi teaching staff and students, with a plan to eliminate Tutsi intellectuals.
Hundreds were brutally murdered at the University Campus.
Nizeyimana is also said to have participated in the establishment of lists of persons to be eliminated, the majority of whom were intellectual or influential Tutsis, as well as in the identification of such persons in Butare area.
Lt. Pierre Bizimana, who under orders of Nizeyimana oversaw the execution of Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda and her family members, was sentenced to death.