American Border Patrol officials in Maine have arrested a Rwandan man wanted by the Canadian government for reportedly violating international laws and committing crimes against humanity.
According toReuters, the arrest took place on Sunday, August 3, when a local resident spotted a “suspicious person” walking on foot along the border and reported him to authorities. The man turned out to be 42-year-old Jean Leonard Teganya, who fled Rwanda with his family back in 1994 – during the country’s bloody civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis.
Although Border Patrol officials told the Los Angeles Times that Teganya was detained for illegally crossing the border between Canada and the United States, they added that after running a search on the man they discovered he was wanted in Canada.
Canada Border Service officials, meanwhile, wouldn’t go into detail about the arrest warrant it had issued for Teganya, but the newspaper found an archived internet page from the agency stating the man is one of the country’s “most wanted” fugitives. It also said that Teganya “violated human or international rights” outlined by the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
Specifically, Reuters noted that he is accused of taking part in the murder of 200 Tutsis, which took place at a hospital where Teganya was a medical intern at the time. All told, about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during the 1994 genocide.
After escaping Rwanda, Teganya and his family moved through multiple countries – Congo, Kenya, and India – before arriving in Canada hoping to attain status as refugees. While Teganya argued that being sent back to Rwanda would put him at risk of torture and jail time – he is the son of a convicted war criminal currently in jail for 22 years – Canada denied his requests on the grounds that he was complicit in the killings at the hospital.
This year, Canada issued a warrant demanding that Teganya be deported from the country. Teganya will be removed from the US, border officials said, but it is unclear whether he will be returned to Canada or Rwanda.