A view showing the apartment building where Rwanda genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga was arrested in Asnieres-sur-Seine near Paris, France May 16, 2020. (Reuters)
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Paris – Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, whose arrest on Saturday ended 26 years on the run, was a frail, elderly man who said little to neighbours and who would take a stroll most days outside of his apartment in a well-off suburb of Paris.
Kabuga, 84, Rwanda’s most wanted man with a $5 million bounty on his head, had been living under a false name in a five-storey apartment block in Asnieres-sur-Seine with the help of his children, according to France’s justice ministry.
Police detained him early on Saturday.
“I would see this man going out, maybe once a day, alone or with someone,” said Jean-Yves Breneol, 72, a resident in the same block where Kabuga lived. “He wouldn’t say a word, nothing.”
Breneol said he thought Kabuga might have lived in the building for four or five years.
“We didn’t know his name, nothing,” he continued.
It is not known how or when Kabuga entered France.
But neighbours said they were stunned to learn that a man wanted by a United Nations tribunal on seven criminal charges including genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, had been living among them.
“What’s happened is shocking,” said a second resident in the building who identified himself only as Jean-Guillaume, who added that Kabuga appeared weak.
“He was an old man, very old. He was sick.”
Reuters could not find any public comment made by Kabuga over the years about the charges. It was not immediately known if he has a lawyer in France.
Kabuga is now being held in La Sante prison in central Paris.
At the foot of an imposing outer wall made of stone and bristling with security cameras, a coat of arms in the tricolor of the French national flag hangs beside a reception kiosk. (Reuters)