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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 09:33 GMT

World: Africa

Tanzania arrests Rwandan genocide suspect

Muhimana is charged in connection with killings in western Rwanda

Tanzanian authorities have arrested a man suspected of personal involvement in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and handed him over to the international tribunal investigating the massacres.

The suspect, Mikaeli Muhimana, a local official in western Rwanda at the time of the genocide, was arrested by police in Dar-es-Salaam on Monday.

He has been transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda's detention centre in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha.

One of the first suspects charged by the tribunal in 1995, Mr Muhimana faces 25 charges.

He is accused of involvement in a series of attacks by Hutu extremists in the Bisesero Mountain area, which became known as the "mountain of death".

Human rights groups say 50,000 people - most of them Tutsi - were murdered after seeking refuge in the area.

'Incited attacks'

Mr Muhimana is charged with "at various times ... having brought to the area of Bisesero armed members of the Gendarmerie Nationale, communal police, Interahamwe militias and civilians and directing them to attack people seeking refuge there," the tribunal said in a statement.

"He is also charged with having personally taken part in the attacks...and killed persons seeking refuge there," the statement continued.

Mr Muhimana is believed to have fled to the former Zaire - now the Democratic Republic of Congo - after the genocide in which up to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

Tribunal 'incompetence'

Human Rights Watch meanwhile has accused the ICTR of "prosecutorial incompetence" over last week's release of a key genocide suspect.

Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was released on Friday in Tanzania after the tribunal's appeals court ruled there had been irregularities in the proceedings against him.

The release prompted Rwanda to suspend co-operation with the tribunal, which the government described as a travesty of justice of monstrous proportions.

A former government official, Mr Barayagwiza had also been a senior official for the notorious Rwandan hate radio station, Mille Collines, which was blamed for helping to incite the genocide.

The New York-based human rights organisation noted that Mr Barayagwiza can could still be prosecuted in national courts,including those of Rwanda itself, where he would face the death penalty if found guilty.

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