The police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Harare is reportedly questioning Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe with the hope of getting leads as to where wanted genocide fugitives could be hiding inside the country.
The Rwandan government has in the past accused several southern African countries, including Zimbabwe of habouring genocide fugitives.
International media reports suggested the third most wanted fugitive, Protais Mpiranya, with a US$5million bounty of his head, could be hiding in Zimbabwe.
Mpiranya, a top soldier during the Rwandan genocide, is alleged to have been instrumental in the massacre of Tutsis, a minority ethnic group in Rwanda. The genocide claimed about one million Rwandans, mostly those from the Tutsi ethnic group.
The genocide is blamed on the Hutu-led government of slain president, Juvenal Hyabiarimana. Politically moderate Hutu’s were also massacred during the 100 days of blood –letting.
Top CID officers were questioning Rwandans staying in the Zimbabwe wanting them to assist in disclosing the whereabouts of at least eight Rwandan fugitives. They showed pictures of Augustin Bizimana, former defence minister, Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted man in connection with the genocide, and Mpiranya.
Both Bizimana and Kabuga have US$5 million bounties on their respective heads. The three are wanted by the United Nations Tribunal trying suspects of the 1994 genocide.
But Zimbabwean police were told no one among the Rwandan refugees had an idea of their whereabouts.
Kabuga, a wealthy businessperson, is believed to be staying in Kenya while Bizimana is rurmoured to be holed up in eastern DRC.
Rwandan refugees said for the past few months the police had been questioning them on the possible whereabouts of at least eight former Rwandan officials during the genocide. There was no immediate comment from police authorities.
“We were shown pictures of eight people including Kabuga, Mpiranya and Bizimana but no one seem to know where these guys are,” said one refugee from Rwanda.
Another genocide fugitive, Charles Bandora, briefly stayed in Zimbabwe before he sneaked to Belgium where he was seized and charged with crimes related to the 1994 genocide.
Bandora had escaped from Malawi where Rwandan authorities had successfully pressured President Bingu WaMutharika to arrest him. However, Bandora was released under very unclear circumstances and he fled to Harare.