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President’s widow held over genocide

After 12 years living a quiet existence in a suburb near Paris, the widow of the assassinated Rwandan president whose death triggered the largest mass slaughter of the 20th century, was arrested yesterday. She is accused of helping to mastermind the 1994 genocide.

The detention of Agathe Habyarimana, dubbed ‘Lady Genocide’ by some, came less than a week after President Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French head of state to visit Rwanda for 25 years.

During a brief stopover in the capital Kigali he issued a semi-apology for France's “serious errors” over the genocide.

The government in Rwanda, which is preparing a formal extradition request, has long sought the arrest of the widow who was detained at her home in Courcouronnes, south of Paris. She was later released but forbidden from leaving the country and ordered to report to a French judge once a month.

She now faces a fight to avoid being sent back to a country she last saw on 9 April, 1994, three days after her husband's jet was shot down close to Kigali airport.

Mrs Habyarimana escaped the orgy of killing that left 800,000 people dead in 100 days. She was helped to escape across the border into Congo by French forces.

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