DNA test on fugitive ‘Kabuga’
Published on June 15, 2008, 12:00 am
By Cyrus Ombati
Police have conducted DNA tests on a Rwandese believed to be genocide suspect Felician Kabuga.
The man was arrested from a house in Nairobi on Friday night following a tip off from his former aides, said detectives.
He was trailed from Kawangware area before he was arrested and held at the Gigiri Police Station overnight and later moved to CID headquarters, yesterday.
Earlier, the detectives drove the man resembling Kabuga to a city hospital and took samples from him for a DNA test.
Sources said they took saliva and hair from the suspect to compare them with others from Arusha and Rwanda.
Other officers were given his pictures to compare with the suspect’s appearance.
The man in custody reportedly told investigators he is a Hutu and a lecturer at an institution in Kigali. He, however, but could not explain his mission in Kenya.
“We have a Rwandese suspect in our custody, but we do not know him for now. We are still profiling him in efforts to know his identity,” said deputy police spokesman Charles Owino.
“If it is Felician Kabuga it will be honour for us to make it known and if it is negative we will make it public,” he said.
Owino said the Kabuga issue was an international one and that local detectives were handling it with caution.
The arrest was made by detectives from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit.
“You never know because this man can pay someone to impose himself as him. We are very cautious,” said one of the detectives.
The team trailed the suspect from Mombasa before arresting him in Nairobi.
The Tanzanian-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda believes Kabuga is hiding Kenya.
And following persistence claims, sources said, a special team was assembled to trace the runway suspect.
The team was established two months ago and has been moving between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Kabuga is the most wanted man in Africa. He is accused of financing the 1994 murder of close to a million Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus, in one of the worst genocides in human history.
In 1999, the tribunal issued an international arrest warrant for Kabuga, charging him with 11 counts, including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and complicity in genocide.
The tribunal said the Rwandan tycoon was “the main supporter and financier of the Interhamwe militia”, which carried out most of the killings.
Charges against Kabuga indicated he made “massive purchases” of machetes, hoes and other agricultural tools to arm the militia.
Kabuga was also a co-owner of the Mille Collines radio station used to broadcast a hate campaign against Tutsis in the run-up to the genocide.
The station was described by the Human Rights Watch as “the voice of genocide.” And despite having Sh100 million bounty on his head, the fugitive tycoon has evaded authorities for more than a decade.
Two previous attempts to capture Kabuga, a Rwandan Hutu who amassed a vast fortune through smuggling coffee, failed. In one instance, an informer died mysteriously.
That was five years ago when a bungled operation by American FBI to snare Kabuga led to the death of their key informer, Kenyan businessman William Munuhe.
It started on January 15, 2003 when American investigators asked Kenyan detectives to stake out Munuhe’s house in Karen, and wait for Kabuga.
But the stakeout was called off after seven hours when Kabuga failed to show up.
Two days later, the detectives broke into Munuhe’s house and found him dead.
Six years earlier, Kabuga came close to arrest but his close associates tipped him of the planned sting operation.
Kabuga has for long been suspected to be hiding in Kenya, sheltered by corrupt senior Government officials, after his expulsion from Switzerland.
Police spokesman Mr Eric Kiraithe called The Sunday Standard last night saying preliminary finding had shown the man in their custody was not Kabuga.
“Our early investigations show he is not the one,” he said.