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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Rwanda genocide suspect faces trial
Skulls of the massacred Rwandans
About 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide
One of the alleged leaders of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been arrested in Angola.

General Augustin Bizimungu, head of the Rwandan military during the 1994 genocide, was found with assistance from the US, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told Reuters news agency.


There are still others hiding in neighbouring countries

Andre Bumaya, Rwandan Foreign Minister

About 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days by armed militias.

He will be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, "in the coming days" a court spokesman has said.

Kingsley Moghalu told the BBC Focus on Africa that Mr Bizimungu was one of the alleged masterminds of the genocide, accused of arming and training the militias.

He will be charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, Mr Moghalu said. 'Positive step'

Rwanda has also welcomed the arrest.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Andre Bumaya told Associated Press:

"It's a positive step, and we're happy with that... But there are still others hiding in neighbouring countries."

Wanted poster for Rwandan suspect
The US is putting up the money to find genocide suspects

The Angolan Government has said that it located General Bizimungu in a camp for Unita rebel soldiers who are being demobilised.

An Angolan Government statement said that it had been asked to hand the general over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which has issued a warrant for his arrest.

"I can confirm he was arrested over a week ago," Mr Reeker said.

Both Angola and Rwanda are heavily involved in the complex war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The BBC's Justin Pierce in Luanda says that many Rwandans and Congolese have been found among the Unita forces, having fought for the rebels against the Angolan Government.

Rwanda says that it sent troops into DR Congo to stop attacks from the ethnic Hutu Interahamwe militias who carried out the genocide.

General Bizimungu is one of eight leading genocide suspects being sought in DR Congo and Kenya.

He is wanted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the Rwandan army's role in the genocide.

Large reward

The United States has welcomed General Bizimungu's arrest and said it was partly brought about by a US programme which offers up to $5m for information leading to the arrest of war crimes suspects.

But US officials have not said whether any money was actually paid out in General Bizimungu's case.

Rwanda and Angola
Angola supports the DR Congo Government
Rwanda supports the DR Congo rebels
Rwandan says it is fighting Hutu rebels in DR Congo
Angola's Unita rebels supported the DR Congo rebels backed by Rwanda

"The arrest was the result of close collaboration and information sharing among Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the tribunal, and the United States," he said.

The Angolan authorities identified General Bizimungu during the process of demobilising about 80,000 former Unita fighters who have gathered in camps across the country since the end of the civil war.

At the beginning of the month, 5,000 former Unita soldiers were selected to join the Angolan army. The remaining 75,000 will be fully demobilised.

Most of the Rwandans with Unita are loyal to the present government in Rwanda and so are on the opposite side to General Bizimungu, according to the BBC's Justin Pearce.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Kingsley Moghalu, Special Council ICTR
"This is a major breakthrough"

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See also:

06 Aug 02 | Africa
29 Jul 02 | Africa
23 Jul 02 | Africa
02 Aug 02 | Africa
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