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Niger expels eight former dignitaries of the Rwandan Hutu regime responsible for the 1994 genocide

#Other countries : Niger will expel “for diplomatic reasons” eight Rwandans, former dignitaries of the Hutu regime responsible for the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994, recently received under an agreement with the UN, according to a ministerial decree consulted on Wednesday.

Four of these eight Rwandans were acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the other four served the sentence to which this UN tribunal had sentenced them.

«The people whose names follow are definitively expelled from the territory of Niger with a permanent stay ban, for diplomatic reasons.», specifies the decree signed by Hamadou Amadou Souley, the Nigerien Minister of the Interior.

Eight names follow, including those of four Rwandans who have served the sentence pronounced by the ICTR: the former prefect of Butare (south) Alphonse Nteziryayo, the former head of military intelligence Anatole Nsengiyumva, Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi and Captain Innocent Sahgahutu .

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The four others, acquitted by the ICTR, are Protais Zigiranyirazo, known as “Mr. Z.”, brother of the former First Lady Agathe Habyarimana, considered a figure of the Hutu regime, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former commander of a elite unit of the Rwandan army, former Minister of Transport André Ntagerura and former Minister of Public Service Prosper Mugiraneza.

«The interested parties will be given formal notice to leave the territory of the Republic of Niger within seven days of the date of notification of this decree.», according to the text which does not indicate their future point of fall.

The authenticity of this decree, published by the Nigerian newspaper Aïr Info, was confirmed to AFP by the Nigerien Minister of the Interior, who did not give further details on the reasons for this expulsion.

«The reason, you saw it on paper», he only indicated.

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«Niger’s decision is really welcome because these people are responsible and have been found guilty of planning and committing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.», reacted to AFP Naphtali Ahishakiye, executive secretary of Ibuka, the main Rwandan association of genocide survivors.

«Now that they have been deported, they should return to Rwanda because the crimes were committed on Rwandan soil. This is what we ask», he continued.

On November 15, Niger signed an agreement with the UN to welcome nine Rwandan personalities, the eight affected by the order and Jérome Clément Bicamumpaka, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1994, also acquitted by the ICTR.

According to the weekly Jeune Afrique, the discontent of Kigali is at the origin of this about-face of the Nigerien authorities.

Between April and July 1994, the genocide left some 800,000 dead, according to the UN, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

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