A UK weekly, The Sunday Times, has reported that one of the most notorious Genocide suspects, Protais Mpiranya, has been holed up in Zimbabwe where he enjoys the protection of senior government officials. The newspaper alleges that Mpiranya, the former commander of the Presidential Guards (GP) during the 1994 Genocide, is “enjoying business links with former army officers close to the country’s president, Robert Mugabe.”
“He is one of a handful of top leaders of the Genocide to have got away. After hunting down, sexually assaulting and murdering Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the prime minister, on April 7, 1994, troops under his command hacked to death the 10 Belgian UN paratroops who had been ordered to protect her,” The Sunday Times reported.
It quoted UN officials saying that Mpiranya, one of the leaders of the rebel FDLR, had established business links with the army officers during the Democratic Republic of Congo war in 1998 when he had allied his forces with the 11,000 Zimbabwean soldiers sent there.
The Presidential Guard, together with the Interahamwe militia, spearheaded the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis which claimed over one million victims. Remnants of both forces form the backbone of the FDLR.
Protais Mpiranya is the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which has put on trial several senior military and political leaders in the former Rwandan government.
Among them are Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, regarded by the ICTR as the “mastermind” of the Genocide, as well as the former prime minister, Jean Kambanda.