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Kabuye extradited to France, thousands protest in Kigali

Article published on the 2008-11-19 Latest update 2008-11-19 17:58 TU

Protesters in Kigali on 10 November.(Photo: AFP)

Protesters in Kigali on 10 November.
(Photo: AFP)

Rwandan presidential aide Rose Kabuye was handed over to French officials in Frankfurt at around 1:50 pm (12:50 UT) on Wednesday to be taken for questioning in France. Earlier tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Kigali against Kabuye's arrest for her alleged role in the assassination of the former President of Rwanda, which set off the 1994 genocide.

In Kigali, shops were closed and buses ceased to run as thousands of people marched from the city centre to Deutsche Welle radio's relay carrying banners condemning France and Germany and calling for the release of Rose Kabuye, the secretary of protocol for Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Executing a French arrest warrant, German police arrested Kabuye in Frankfurt last week and will transfer her to Paris today for questioning before two judges. French anti-terrorism judges Marc Trévidic and Philippe Coirre are to interrogate Kabuye about her role in the shooting down of the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in 1994.

The arrest has inflamed relations between France and Rwanda, which severed diplomatic ties in 2006 after the original French indictment against Rwandan officials was made public.

Prepared by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who has since retired, the case claims that Kagame’s Tutsi forces in exile, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), shot down the plane carrying Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana, knowing that this would enrage Hutu extremists and destabilise the country so that they could take power.

Rwanda has already responded with its own indictment of top French officials who supported Habyarimana’s regime.