LONDON - Unknown people tried to set fire to Rwanda’s Embassy in London Sunday night.
Information available to The New Times indicates the well planned attack occurred slightly before midnight. The yet unidentified people broke the lower ground floor window of the embassy situated at Seymour Place, poured petrol into the building and tried to set it alight.
Fortunately, an embassy staff who lives above the building became suspicious when the petrol fumes got to the apartment and called for help. Police arrived immediately and got the situation under control before a canister full of petrol the arsonists had rigged could explode.
Police are examining footage of surveillance cameras around the Embassy though by the time we went to press no arrests had been made.
"Fortunately nothing was destroyed," Rwanda’s Ambassador to Her Majesty’s Court, Claver Gatete told the New Times Monday evening.
"It was a well-planned attack but the British authorities arrived immediately on the scene’" he said, adding his suspicions that the attack could be part of an ongoing campaign by genocide revisionists.
Last month, the Rwandan cultural centre in Brussels, Belgium, also became a target of an arson attack which caused limited damage.
The previous night’s attack did not disrupt work at the mission Monday morning, though British police beefed up security for the Rwandan diplomats and the embassy premises
Gatete suggested that the botched attack could be linked to the current extradition case against four Rwandan genocide suspects – Three former Mayors in the Southern Province and a medical doctor.
Celestin Ugirashebuja was arrested in Essex, Charles Munyaneza in Bedford, Emmanuel Nteziryayo in Manchester while Dr. Vincent Bajinya was arrested in north London. Information available to The New Times suggests that some of the suspects had changed their identities to escape arrest.
Dr Bajinya who has dual nationality, had changed his names to Vincent Brown, while Nteziryayo had lied to British immigration officials that he was a Burundian refugee by the names of Ndikumana.
The extradition case against the four suspects is being heard by the City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court which is due to make a ruling on June 6. Final submissions by both parties ended last week.
"When the case opened in 2006, the Embassy received terror threats by anonymous callers," revealed the Ambassador.
Security sources add that the last few months have seen a surge of articles by these groups on revisionist websites which are meant to harass members of the Embassy staff. Some of these sites have even published the home addresses of these diplomats.
The Rwanda government has maintained that many genocide fugitives are holed up in European capitals, most of them under assumed names.
The UK, like other European nations are said to host many Rwandan extremist groups, many of whom are suspected to be on the fore front of raising funds for the FDLR rebels operating in eastern DRC. The rebels have been blacklisted by the US as being a terrorist group.
A recent UN Security Council resolution also took the same step ordering the disbandment of FDLR.
"The Security Council demands that all members of the FDLR, ex-FAR/Interahamwe, and other Rwandan armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo immediately lay down their arms and present themselves without any further delay or preconditions to Congolese authorities and MONUC (UN Mission in Congo) for their disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration," the 15-member Council said in resolution 1804 passed on March 13, 2008.