The former Minister of Public Works, Hyacinthe Nsengiyumva Rafiki, alias John Muhindo, was on Wednesday night arrested in France in response to a Red Notice issued by Interpol on the request of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Rafiki is a co-founder of the FDLR and according to prosecution, the indictment was first sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the terrorist outfit is based.
His arrest was confirmed yesterday by John Bosco Siboyintore, the head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit in the Prosecutor General’s office.
“He later moved to France (from DRC) and we hurriedly sent his indictment to Interpol which has resulted in his arrest,” Siboyintore said.
“We are now moving to the next step - requesting his extradition. But if he is not extradited, we are optimistic France will conduct a fair trial”.
The president of Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide Survivors' associations, Dr. Pierre ,, said that the arrest signals an improvement in the way European countries are pursuing Genocide fugitives.
“Although it is a positive move, the pace at which these arrests are executed is still slow, there are very many fugitives in France and we would like to see all of them face justice,” he said.
He added that one of the major problems they normally face is that European countries sometimes claim dossiers on the fugitives are incomplete, subsequently releasing the suspects.
“This is why I request everyone with information about these Genocide fugitives to bring it forward” Dusingizemungu noted.
On April 9, 1994, many Tutsi refugees at Nyundo Cathedral, in the former Gisenyi Prefecture, were killed by a militia under the command of Rafiki.
He addressed a meeting at Nyundo calling on those present, who included local government officials, to accelerate the massacre of Tutsis, promising to provide them with the necessary weapons.
In February 1999, Rafiki, along with Col. Tharcisse Renzaho and Col. Aloys Ntiwirigabo founded the DRC-based terrorist outfit, FDLR.