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Early on Saturday, French law enforcement arrested genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga. Kabuga – a Hutu – is believed to be the main financier of the Rwandan genocide that killed between 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis.
Rwanda has two main ethnic groups, the Hutus and Tutsis. The groups have historically had a hostile relationship fighting a Civil War in the early 1990s during which the genocide took place.
Jean-Yves Breneol, a resident who lived in the same block as Kabuga explained to Reuters, “I would see this man going out, maybe once a day, alone or with someone. He wouldn’t say a word… We didn’t know his name, nothing.”
Breneol also added that he believed Kabuga had been living at the block for four to five years.
Another resident from the building, Jean-Guillaume explained the shock after learning that Kabuga lived close by.
“What’s happened is shocking. He was an old man, very old. He was sick.”
Prior to his arrest, Kabuga had been living under a false identity in the neighborhood of Asnieres-sur-Seine, situated in north-central France outside Paris. It is believed he was living there with the help of his children.
Kabuga was one of Rwanda’s richest men before the genocide. He controlled many of the nation’s coffee and tea plantations and factories. He was also an associate of Rwanda’s second president, Juvenal Habyarimana before Habyarimana’s assassination.
Many observers believe the death of Habyarimana catalyzed the genocide.
Kabuga’s eldest daughter later married Habyarimana’s oldest son. His other daughter married Augustin Ngirabatware, the country’s former planning minister and the first person convicted by the UN-established International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) for the Rwandan genocide.
It is unknown whether Kabuga has a lawyer in France as well as how and at what date he entered the country. Kabuga is now being detained in La Sante prison, Paris.
Following completion of appropriate French legal procedures, he is expected to be transferred to the custody of the IRMCT.
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