Malawi investigating “presence” of Rwandan genocide suspects

Pressure is mounting on the Mutharika administration to flush out more genocide suspects that the authorities in Rwanda say are hiding in this country.

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Murekezi's Malawian passport

So far, the only fugitive that has been arrested is Vincent Murekezi.

He is a wealthy businessman who escaped from Rwanda after he was found guilty of involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

More than one million Tutsi, were massacred during 100 days from April to July 1994 in a bloody orgy that was unleashed by so-called Interahamwe militia of the majority Hutu tribe.

The killings stopped after Paul Kagame led a military push from a neighbouring country and ushered in a new government under his presidency that was not based on tribe or region.

Many of the commanders of the Interahamwe were tried and convicted in courts, but others fled to neighbouring countries, including Malawi where they posed as refugees.

Murekezi is being held at Maula prison in Lilongwe pending appearance before a magistrate on charges of corruption and tax evasion.

Before his arrest, he was on the run for over 20 years during which time he slipped in and out of Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as other countries by using two Malawian passports with two different names that he reportedly fraudulently obtained with a forged Rwandan passport.

But the Rwandan authorities say up to 36 more fugitives are hiding in Malawi.

They have requested the Malawi Government to arrest and extradite them to answer charges on their roles in the genocide.

A published report over the weekend said the request from Rwanda came after the Malawi government had ignored for many years, the extradition of Murekezi.

He was finally arrested on December 8 following pressure from Malawian citizens after he had been exposed in newspaper reports.

Human rights activists in Malawi are meanwhile mounting pressure on the Government to act on Rwanda’s request.

One of them is Billy Mayaya.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Beston Chisamile told Capital fm that the government is currently investigating Rwandwan Nationals living in the country to establish how many genocide suspects are.

“I don’t have much information on that but what we have done is from those claims we have launched investigations so it will be preemptive now to comment on the issue” Said Chisamile.

He however pointed out that they have not received any official communication form the Rwandwan government to repatriate the said 36 genocide suspects.

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