S.Africa mulls Europe bid to extradite ex-Rwandan army chief

23rd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa is considering requests from France and Spain to extradite former Rwandan army chief Faustin Nyamwasa over his alleged role in the 1994 genocide which killed 800,000 people.

"Requests for the extradition of General Nyamwasa were received from Rwanda, Spain and France," justice minister Jeff Radebe said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.

"The department concluded not to grant the request from Rwanda, as he had already been granted formal refugee status. With regards to the requests from Spain and France, the department is currently considering these requests."

The two countries want to extradite Nyamwasa for his alleged role in the Rwandan genocide.

A former member of President Paul Kagame's inner circle, Nyamwasa fled to South Africa in February 2010 after falling out with the Rwandan administration.

He was shot and wounded outside his Johannesburg home four months later in what South Africa's foreign ministry described as an assassination attempt by foreign "security operatives".

Pretoria recalled its ambassador to Rwanda in the wake of the incident.

Rwanda also wants him to serve a 24-year prison sentence after a military court tried him in absentia on charges of desertion, defamation and threatening state security.

He also faces terrorism charges for allegedly masterminding grenade attacks last year in Kigali in the run-up to presidential elections.

Nyamwasa served as army chief of staff and is accused of orchestrating the shooting down of an aircraft carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana -- an event that heightened ethnic tensions and helped spark the genocide.

He is also accused of involvement in the killing of civilians in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, including 2,500 Hutu refugees.

© 2011 AFP

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