Posted on February 4, 2010 | Category: Politics; Business, Sport
Protais Mpiranya, one of the most wanted genocide suspects is being hidden
by the Zimbabwean Government, new reports from the Southern African country
Mpiranya, the former Commander of the Presidential Guard during the 1994
genocide against the Tutsi is being pursued by Belgian authorities and is
also on the list of 13 most wanted persons by the Arusha-based International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
He also appears on the list of most wanted persons for genocide and war
crimes, under the US Rewards for Justice Programme, with a $5m bounty.
Fresh reports by Belgian authorities indicate that Mpiranya is hiding in
Zimbabwe, and is reportedly operating businesses in Harare, on top of acting
as mercenary for the ruling party ZANU-PF to silence the opposition.
In an in an interview with The New Times, Rolland Amoussouga, the ICTR
Spokesperson said that he could not reveal anything on the whereabouts of
Mpiranya as investigations are still going on.
“I can’t confirm that, usually when investigations are still going on, we
can’t reveal whether we know the whereabouts of the wanted person or not, in
a bid not to interfere with the investigations.”
However a close source in the Arusha-based tribunal said that the ICTR has
been aware of Mpiranya’s presence in Zimbabwe though there has been little
or no effort to apprehend him.
According to reports in Zimbabwean papers, Mpiranya is being sheltered by
close associates of President Robert Mugabe who were jointly running
ventures, including a lucrative materials trade in the neighbouring,
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A report has also named Zimbabwean Defence Minister Emmerson Dambudzo
Mnangagwa as one of the close associates of Mpiranya.
Reports further indicate that there are an estimated 4,000 Rwandan refugees
living in Zimbabwe, most of them suspected of taking part in the 1994
Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to the Zimbabwe Mail, many more are filtering into Zimbabwe
through Malawi and that when they arrive, they are looked after by the
government where some are recruited into doing mercenary work.
According to a Belgian official, Belgium is “fully aware of the involvement
of Mpiranya in the murder of ten Belgian peacekeepers on 7
April 1994, and in the planning of the genocide”.
According to the newspaper, sources in the Zimbabwean Intelligence Services
say that the Rwandan fugitive led a group of foreign mercenaries joining
so-called “war veterans” and militiamen attacking opposition supporters in
rural parts of Zimbabwe, during the 2008 contested Presidential run-off
Eyewitnesses said Mpiranya and his men were more vicious than their
Zimbabwean counterparts, with the marauding gangs attacking suspected
members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), forcing them to
renounce the party.
It is believed that Mpiranya and his group dressed in army fatigues abducted
and murdered MDC activist Mabvuku Tonderai Ndira whose body was found with
his tongue cut into shreds.
200 MDC supporters were killed in attacks by police, army, war veterans and
ruling party militia. More than 200,000 displaced by the violence during the
March 2008 elections.
Mpiranya and other Rwandan refugees allegedly feared that they could be sent
home if an MDC-led government came to power.
Meanwhile, another Genocide fugitive who was recently arrested in Malawi,
Charles Bandora and released under unclear circumstances a few days later is
said to have relocated to Zimbabwe.
According to Zimbabwe Mail, Bandora, an ex- senior official of the former
ruling party MRND, was let off the hook two weeks ago and it is believed
that his release was effected after officials in Zimbabwe approached
According to Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, Rwanda has been aware of
Mpriranya’s presence in Zimbabwe for quite sometime but said that the
obligation to arrest him lies with the ICTR.
“I am not sure whether he is in Zimbabwe today but we have said from time to
time that this man has been seen in Zimbabwe, it is up to ICTR to find out
whether it is true indeed and apprehend him, it is their obligation,” Ngoga
He said that Zimbabwe as a matter of principle should be able to apprehend
Mpiranya and hand him over to the ICTR as the International law states that
any country that is hosting any indicted persons is obliged to apprehend
them and had them over to the competent jurisdiction that indicted them.
Who is Mpiranya?
Protais Mpiranya was born in the prefecture of Gitarama currently Muhanga
District in the Southern Province.
He was second-in-command of military operations and intelligence (S2 and S3)
in the Presidential guard Battalion.
In 1993, he was appointed Commander of the Presidential Guard Battalion in
the Rwandan Army. In this capacity he exercised authority over the units of
Beginning in 1992, Mpiranya is alleged to have supervised the training of
militiamen in the prefectures of Ruhengeri, Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Butare and
Mutara, particularly in the military camps in Gabiro, Gako, Mukamira and
Bigogwe. In 1993, Mpiranya is also reported to have sent his subordinates to
supervise the training of the Interahamwe (an extremist Hutu militia)
He is said also to have distributed weapons to the militia and to certain
carefully selected members of the civilian population with the intent to
exterminate the Tutsi population.
It is said that on the morning of 7 April 1994, Mpiranya, a Major then,
commanded a group of Presidential Guards which tracked down, arrested,
sexually assaulted and assassinated former Prime Minister Agathe
He again conspired in the murder of the President of the Constitutional
Court, Joseph Kavaruganda; the Chairman of the PSD party and Minister of
Agriculture Frederic Nzamurambago; the Vice-Chairman of the PL party and
Minister of Labour and Community Affairs, Landoald Ndasingwa; as well as a
member of the Political Bureau of the MDR, the Minister of Information,
He also ordered the Presidential Guards to kill 10 Belgian para-commandos
from UNAMIR who were guarding the Prime Minister at Kigali military camp,
leading to the withdrawal of the Belgian contingent on 13 April 1994 and to
a drastic reduction of UNIMAR’s civilian and military personnel.
As of 7 April 1994, killings of the civilian Tutsi population, preceded, on
many occasions, by rape, sexual violence and other crimes of a sexual nature
and the murder of numerous political opponents, were carried out by
civilians and soldiers under orders from Mpiranya. Mpiranya fled to DRC as
RPF advanced to Kigali.
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