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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 17:51 GMT
Rwanda leader backs crash probe
By Fergal Keane
BBC world affairs correspondent

Paul Kagame
Kagame denies he discussed killing ex-president Habyarimana

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has told the BBC he would co-operate with an international inquiry into the death of former leader Juvenal Habyarimana.

The downing of Habyarimana's plane in 1994 sparked the Rwandan genocide.

In a rare interview, Mr Kagame accused France of using the crash to cover its role in training and arming those who committed genocide.

Mr Kagame also angrily said: "Would I care that bloody Habyarimana died? I don't give a damn."

Mr Kagame rejected claims that he had discussed the killing of President Habyarimana in the presence of bodyguards. He said he would not do that unless he was the most stupid man in the world.

Would I care that bloody Habyarimana died?
Paul Kagame

But significantly the president said he would be willing to co-operate with an independent inquiry into the shooting down of the plane.

It remains to be seen whether the UN - which backed away from such an inquiry in the past - would be keen to take him up on this.

Within hours of the shooting down of the plane, Hutu extremists began a campaign of extermination that would last 100 days and kill up to a million people - mostly members of the Tutsi minority.

Intelligence

The claims of one key witness who spoke to the BBC could prove troubling for French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who has alleged that Mr Kagame ordered the attack to seize total power.

Innocent Marara, who says he was a former bodyguard of Mr Kagame, claims the judge tried to get him to join a rebel group fighting the Rwandan president and arranged for him to give intelligence to French defence officials.

Judge Bruguiere could not be reached for comment.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Paul Kagame speaks to the BBC's Fergal Keane



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