A businessman whose role in saving more than a thousand lives inspired the film Hotel Rwanda has been arrested on terrorism-related charges in the small east African country.
Paul Rusesabagina, 66, was the general manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali, the capital, during the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed with knives, clubs and other weapons.
Paul Rusesabagina, who saved hundreds of Rwandans during the genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed, and saw his story made into the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, has been arrested on terror-related offenses, Rwandan authorities announced.
The country’s Bureau of Investigation said in a Twitter statement that Rusesabagina was now in their custody after being arrested “through international cooperation.” It did not indicate which country helped them with the arrest.
The 2004 film told the story of how Rusesabagina, a middle-class Hutu married to a Tutsi, used his influence and bribes to save the lives of more than 1,200 people who sheltered at the Mille Collines hotel in the capital during the worst of the massacres.
The vast majority of the victims of the genocide were from Rwanda’s Tutsi minority, though some Hutu moderates also died.
According to The Guardian, Rusesabagina was paraded by the authorities at a press conference in Kigali on Monday after his arrest under an international warrant. The authorities said he was being held at a police station in the city and gave only minimal details of the accusations against him.
“Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits … operating out of various places in the region and abroad,” the Rwanda Investigation Bureau said in a statement.
The statement described charges including terrorism, arson, kidnap, and “murder perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory”.