Key mastermind of Rwandan genocide dies

A key mastermind of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left 800,000 dead with a hundred days has died, aged 80 years.

The deceased warlord, Theoneste Bagosora was nicknamed the “Himmler of Rwanda” or the “Colonel of the Apocalypse”.

He died on Saturday in Mali where he was serving his sentence for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) based in Arusha (Tanzania) had initially sentenced Bagosora to life imprisonment in 2008. He appealed and got his sentence reduced to 35 years in prison on appeal in 2011.

In 1994, Bagosora held the position of Director of Cabinet at the Rwandan Ministry of Defense. Bagosora had always denied his involvement in the mass killing of Tutsi minority.

In front of his judges, he also denied having affirmed fifteen years earlier, in 1993, in this same city of Arusha, that he was returning to Rwanda “to prepare the Apocalypse”, slamming the door on negotiations between the Rwandan government and the Tutsi rebellion of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

During these talks in Tanzania, he was in constant conflict with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boniface Ngurinzira, whom he accused of making too many concessions to the rebels.

Soldiers assassinated Ngurinzira on April 11, 1994, five days after the attack on the plane of President Juvenal Habyarimana, which triggered the first massacres of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.


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