Johannesburg — One of the world’s most wanted fugitives was arrested Wednesday in South Africa after 29 years on the run, according to UN investigators. Frugens Kaishema allegedly orchestrated the brutal murder of 2,000 women, men and children in a Rwandan church during the 1994 genocide in the central African country of Rwanda.
he was indicted He was arrested by the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001 and has since been on the run under various pseudonyms and disguises. The attack on the Nyange church is considered one of the most brutal acts of the 100 Days War. rwandan genocide.
According to a statement from the United Nations International Criminal Court Retention Mechanism (IRMCT), Kaishema was arrested in the town of Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa, in a joint operation between the United Nations and South African authorities.
Investigators said Kaishema initially denied his identity, but within hours admitted that he had long suspected he would be arrested.
A bounty of up to $5 million was offered by the U.S. War Crimes Program for information leading to Kaishema and other wanted perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.
“Furgens Kayshema has been a fugitive for more than 20 years. His arrest will ultimately lead him to criminal charges,” IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brummertz said in a statement.
His arrest is another success for the ICTR, whose prosecution fugitive tracking team has arrested five of the most wanted suspects in connection with the genocide since 2020. There are currently only three conspicuous individuals on the run.
“This arrest is a concrete demonstration that no matter how long it takes, this determination will not fade and justice will be served,” Brammertz said in a statement. added.
Kaishema was indicted by a Rwandan court on charges against humanity for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and murder and other crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide.
The indictment alleges that on April 15, 1994, Kaishema and others directly planned and carried out the murders of 2,000 people. He allegedly procured gasoline to burn down the Nyange Church in Kivum Commune along with the people inside.
After the arson failed, Kaishema allegedly used a bulldozer to demolish the building, burying and killing the people inside. He was then responsible for overseeing the transfer of bodies from the church grounds to mass graves over the next few days.