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Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK

World: Africa

Tanzania holds genocide suspect

Hundreds of thousands were killed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda

Tanzania has arrested a former Rwandan army officer who is accused of killing the Rwandan prime minister and ten Belgian soldiers in 1994.

East Africa Correspondent Cathy Jenkins: "Both Belgium and Rwanda are waiting for extradition"
Bernard Ntuyahaga is being detained after he left the custody of the United Nations International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha.

The tribunal, which is prosecuting crimes related to the 1994 Rwanda genocide, had dropped charges against Mr Ntuyahaga.

The Tanzanian Justice Minister, Bakari Mwapachu, said that the former major was arrested in Dar es Salaam on Monday night.

Mr Mwapachu said Major Ntuyahaga had been detained for his own security pending a decision on extradition requests from both Rwanda and Belgium.

Illegal immigrant

The minister said Mr Ntuyahaga's arrest was also intended to "sort out the immigration issue". The former army officer had entered the country illegally when he turned himself over to the ICTR last June.

[ image: Mr Ntuyahaga: Wanted by Belgium and Rwanda]
Mr Ntuyahaga: Wanted by Belgium and Rwanda
Although Tanzania was forbidden, under an agreement with the tribunal, to re-arrest Mr Ntuyahaga within a certain period on the same charges, the Tanzanian authorities were free to arrest him on the unrelated count of being an illegal alien.

Tanzania has extradition agreements with both Belgium and Rwanda. The minister said Tanzania would examine the legal implications of both extradition requests, and the case would then be taken to court.

Belgium has meanwhile threatened to review its collaboration with the international tribunal, following the decision to release Mr Ntuyahaga. The court said it was not able directly to extradite the ex-officer to Brussels.

The tribunal agreed on 18 March to a prosecution request to withdraw its indictment against Mr Ntuyahaga for crimes against humanity. The prosecutor's request was to allow a trial in Belgium, but the judges ruled that they had no authority to deliver him to any national authorities.

Protest and anger

Bernard Ntuyahaga is suspected of being involved in the killing of the Rwandan Prime Minister, Agatha Uwilingiyimana, at the start of the 1994 genocide and of ordering the killing of 10 Belgian peacekeepers who were guarding her.

Belgium and Rwanda protested against Monday's ICTR decision to free Mr Ntuyahga.

A Belgian official in Tanzania, said Belgium was "extremely upset" by the release.

Rwanda's ambassador to Tanzania, Joy Mukanyange, said: "We find it difficult to believe he could be released just like that.

"We have a whole lot of evidence that he was not only responsible for the deaths of the prime minister and the [Belgian] soldiers, but part and parcel of the whole syndicate which planned the genocide."

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