Fulgence Kayishema, one of the most-wanted suspects accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, has been arrested in the South African town of Paarl after more than 20 years on the run.
He was detained on Wednesday afternoon in a joint operation between South African authorities and a UN team which tracks down remaining fugitives.
According to a UN body that handles outstanding war crimes cases for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, known as the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals’ (IRMCT), Kayishema was one of the world’s most-wanted genocide fugitives.
Fulgence Kayishema (bottom left) was one of the most-wanted fugitives in the world
He was indicted in 2001 by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for killings and other crimes.
He is alleged to have orchestrated the killing of approximately 2,000 Tutsi people – women, men, children and elderly – at a church in Kivumu commune, where he was a police inspector.
He was accused of directly participating in the planning and execution of the massacre, including by procuring and distributing petrol to burn down the church with the those seeking refuge inside.
“When this failed, Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing the refugees inside. Kayishema and others then supervised the transfer of corpses from the church grounds into mass graves over the next approximately two days,” the IRMCT’s statement said.
A reward of up to $5m had been offered by the US for his arrest.
The suspect, who has been on the run since his indictment, is due to be arraigned on Friday in a Cape Town court, reports say.
About 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by ethnic Hutu extremists in 100 days in 1994.
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