Diplomatic war : France, Germany and Rwanda in a tangle

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Ms. Rose Kabuye who was one of the nine senior officials wanted over the shooting down of former President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane that triggered the 1994 genocide has been arrested and detained in Frankfurt.

Ms. Kabuye was detained under a French arrest warrant when she arrived at Frankfurt for a series of meetings with business leaders, reports claim. Her arrest has however caused and immediate break in diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali, and tensions that have continued ever since.

President Paul Kagame has long accused France of complicity in the genocide that led to the deaths of some 800,000 people in Rwanda, by arming Hutu militias.

Rwanda has also expelled Germany’s envoy and recalled its own ambassador amid a row over a detained presidential aide, Ms Rose Kabuye.

Thousands of people turned out in the Rwandan capital yesterday to protest against the arrest of Ms Kabuye, a former guerrilla fighter with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), now Rwanda’s ruling party.

The Rwanda foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali was quoted as saying ‘We’ve called our ambassador in Berlin to come for consultations, and we’ve asked the German ambassador to leave until this matter is resolved.’

Rwandan president, Mr. Paul Kagame who is in Frankfurt for a series of meetings with business leaders, denounced Ms. Kabuye’s arrest as a violation of Rwandan sovereignty.

Ms Kabuye was detained under a French arrest warrant when she arrived ahead of him to prepare for his visit. Mr. Kagame, who visited his aide in Preungsheim women’s prison, argued that she should not have been arrested because her trip was made in an official capacity.

He has called her arrest a violation of the sovereignty of Rwanda.

The African Union, in a statement expressed dismay and concern over Ms. Kabuye’s arrest, saying she should have been entitled to immunity as she was on official business.

German authorities said they had no choice but to arrest the aide under the warrant issued two years ago by a French judge.

Ms. Kabuye has insisted that she had no hands in the assassination of the Mr. Habyarimana.

The plane carrying Mr. Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down on 6 April 1994, at a time of uneasy peace between Mr. Kagame’s Tutsi rebels and the Kigali government.

The radical Hutu government accused the RPF of carrying out the assassination. Within hours, militias set up roadblocks and started to systematically murder any Tutsis or moderate Hutus they could find. But the RPF has always accused the Hutu extremists of shooting down the plane to provide a pretext for carrying out their genocidal plans.

Some 800,000 people were slaughtered in just 100 days before Mr. Kagame’s forces ousted the Hutu government.

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