Rwanda’s president has censured the Western countries for their “arrogance” after the country’s intelligence chief was arrested in the UK.
Condemning the way that the West treats African people, Paul Kagame said in a Thursday speech to parliament that, “absolute arrogance and contempt is the only basis for this arrest.”
“They must have mistaken him for an illegal immigrant. The way they treat illegal immigrants is the way they treat all of us. Black people have become targets for shooting practice,” he said.
Kagame stressed that Rwandans cannot accept that others treat them “this way just because they can.”
Rwanda’s intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Karenzi Karake was detained by British police at Heathrow airport on Saturday on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain in 2008.
The 54-year-old, along with 39 other people, was indicted by Spanish National Court Judge Fernando Andreu on accusation of terrorism and genocide.
Karake has been accused of involvement in the mass killings of Hutu extremists in retaliation for their 1994 genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi people. He is also charged with orchestrating the murder of eight Spaniards who were working with refugees in Rwanda.
Spain on Wednesday formally asked Britain to hand over the Rwandan intelligence chief.
A judge at Spain’s National Court “has made a formal request” for Britain to hand over Karake, said a judicial source, adding, “Now that he has been captured, the European warrant for him to be handed over has been sent to Britain.”
Kagame, meanwhile, hailed Karake as a “freedom fighter” and said the European countries are seeking to humiliate Rwanda and Africans to hide their own involvement in the 1994 genocide in which around 800,000 people lost their lives.
“They want to mask their responsibility by saying it’s not us, it is savages of Africa who killed each other,” he said.
Following the 54-year-old’s arrest, hundreds of people assembled in front of the British diplomatic mission in Rwanda, calling for Karake’s release.
“We are here to stand in solidarity with our hero, who was among the people who stopped genocide in this country,” said Herbert Muhire, a protest leader, adding, “We will not stop until he is released.”
London’s Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday is expected to set the date for the start of full extradition proceedings of Karake within the next three weeks.