Panafrican News Agency

The 'alleged kidnapping' of controversial hero of famous 'Hotel' Rwanda' film highlighted in Rwandan media

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) -  The alleged 'kidnapping' in Dubai of Paul Rusesabagina, a controversial hero in the famous 'Hotel Rwanda' movie earlier this week and the reaction by senior Rwandan authorities were some of the stories highlighted by Rwandan newspapers this week.

The English daily - The New Times - wrote that Rusesabagina was arrested by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, which paraded him before the media on Monday, 31 August, saying the arrest was the result of an international warrant.

The newspaper reported that different media organisations and some activists had been trying to sanitise and present Rusesabagina as a victim with many claiming that he was kidnapped, the same version his daughter has been promoting.

However, in an exclusive interview earlier this week with Rwanda Television, Rwandan President Paul Kagame refuted these allegations, saying: “There was no kidnap in the process of bringing Rusesabagina here. It was actually flawless”.d

During the interview, according to the pro-government newspaper, Kagame said he "wish the media did some research and used facts”.

However, the Rwandan leader said Rusesabagina headed a group of terrorists that had killed Rwandans.

Rwandan officials accuse Rusesabagina of leading and financing the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) and the National Liberation Force (FLN), MRCD’s military wing, all of which are alleged terrorist groups operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rusesabagina became famous after the blockbuster Hollywood movie - Hotel Rwanda - was released in 2004.

In the movie, Rusesabagina is portrayed as a hero who risked his own life to protect the Tutsi who were cornered in Hôtel des Mille Collines, which he managed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

But different accounts of survivors from the same hotel have disputed this.

In another article, the semi-private 'KT Press' wrote that indications were that talk of abductions were also wide off the mark as far as the arrest of Rusesabagina was concerned.

The newspaper wrote that during a recent interview with Rwandan Television,  President Kagame observed wryly, that when the story was eventually fully aired, it would become clear that Rusesabagina travelled to Rwanda of his own accord.

Hinting at some subterfuge, Kagame said Rusesabagina came voluntarily, willingly, although he may have been under the impression, he was heading to a destination other than his native land.

“There was no wrong doing involved, he came of his own volition…except perhaps telling a fib, that might be the only wrong doing,” Kagame said.

Under the headline "Paul Rusesabagina At Home And Face To Face With His True Self", KT Press wrote that hyperbolic claims of denial of access to lawyers, torture, and most sinister of all, “disappearances”, would ring hollow to anyone who cared to properly scrutinise the system that was now entertaining Rusesabagina.

In another article, the private owned 'Taarifa' reported that the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, the Hotel Rwanda film ‘icon’, had attracted the attention of international media.

The daily newspaper, which appears in Kigali wrote that the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, the Hotel Rwanda film ‘icon’, had attracted the attention of international media.

The newspaper wrote that, yet in all the stories, the popular narrative was that Paul Rusesabagina, a baptised hero, and humanitarian activist, was abducted from Dubai and taken to Kigali by agents of a dangerous totalitarian leader.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also acknowledged that ‘Rusesabagina pledged an “unreserved support” to the FLN, the armed wing of the MRCD’.

The newspaper recalls that  ‘since 2018, the FLN has claimed responsibility for several attacks around Nyungwe forest, Southern Province, near the border with Burundi.’

However, it goes ahead to argue that ‘the fact that Rwandan authorities circumvented the legal process of extradition in Rusesabagina’s case, seriously undermined their claims as to the legitimacy and good faith of their efforts to prosecute him, the newspaper said.

Rwandan authorities said they issued an arrest warrant for Rusesabagina to answer charges of serious crimes including terrorism, arson, kidnap, and murder perpetrated against unarmed civilians.

The authorities cited “international cooperation” and gave no details but suggested that Interpol was involved. They did not say where or how he was apprehended.

'The New Times' wrote that Rusesabagina is currently being held at Remera Police detention in Kigali city on several charges, which include launching terror attacks against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, including in Nyabimata, Nyaruguru District in June 2018 and in Nyungwe, Nyamagabe District in December 2018.

Rwandan President Kagame has highlighted that Rusesabagina himself had recordings of him bragging about his attacks against Rwanda.


-0-    PANA    TWA/RA    12Sept2020