U.S. Arrests 3 in Uganda Tourist Slayings
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By CURT ANDERSON
The Associate Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Three Rwandan rebels have been arrested and charged with the 1999 murders of two American tourists in Uganda during a trip to see rare mountain gorillas, U.S. officials said Monday.

Four Britons, two Americans and two New Zealanders were hacked and bludgeoned to death by Rwandan Hutu rebels in an Ugandan national park. Authorities say the rebels specifically targeted English-speakers in a bid to weaken U.S. and British support for the Rwandan government.

Those arrested were identified as Leonidas Bimenyiamana, 34; Francois Karake, 38; and Gregoire Nyaminami, 32. All are Rwandan nationals.

The three were arrested Saturday and flown to Puerto Rico. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

The three were members of the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda, which is affiliated with the former Hutu regime in Rwanda blamed for the genocide of more than 1 million minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

The arrests were announced by Michael Chertoff, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard of the District of Columbia and FBI Special Agent Mike Rolince of the Washington field office.

The two Americans killed by the rebels were Rob Haubner, 48, and his wife, Susan Miller, 42, who were both employees of computer chipmaker Intel Corp., based in Portland, Ore.

They were among a group of 30 tourists visiting Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in hopes of seeing some of the rare mountain gorillas that roam the remote rain forest near the borders with Congo and Rwanda.

The rebels invaded the camp on March 1, 1999, forced 17 tourists who spoke English to remove shoes and begin marching. Eight were killed along the march with machetes and axes.

Seven people survived the attack, including one who was given a note by the rebels warning the United States and Great Britain not to interfere in Rwanda. Similar notes were found on the bodies of two of those killed.

One Hutu group, the Rwanda Liberation Army, had put a bounty on the heads of Americans and claimed responsibility for several other attacks in Rwanda in 1996 and 1997.

On the Net: Justice Department

Copyright 2003 AP 03-03-03 14:31 EST The Associate Press.

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U.S. Hails Arrests of 3 Rwandan Rebels

By CURT ANDERSON
The Associate Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials are hailing the arrests of three Rwandan rebels charged with the 1999 murders of two American tourists in Uganda, saying they send a clear warning to terrorists everywhere.

Michael Chertoff, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said the arrests - four years to the day after the killings - said the apprehensions declare "those who commit acts of terror against Americans, whenever and wherever, will be hunted, captured and brought to justice."

Rob Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, along with four British and two New Zealand tourists, were hacked and bludgeoned to death by Rwandan Hutu rebels while on a trip to see rare mountain gorillas, U.S. officials said Monday. The rebels had specifically targeted English-speaking people in a bid to weaken U.S. and British support for the new Rwandan government, they said.

"This was a vicious, cold-blooded, brutal attack that was intended to make a political point," said U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard of the District of Columbia, where a federal grand jury indicted the three on Feb. 25.

Those charged with murder, conspiracy and other counts were identified as Rwandan nationals Leonidas Bimenyiamana, 34; Francois Karake, 38; and Gregoire Nyaminami, 32.

The three were arrested Saturday with the help of the Rwandan government and flown to Puerto Rico for initial court appearances, with trials to be held later in Washington, D.C. The charges carry a possible death penalty.

The men were said to be members of the Liberation Army of Rwanda or ALIR, formed in 1996 in refugee camps in neighboring Zaire (now Congo) by members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces and civilian militia known as Interahamwe who carried out the 1994 genocide.

ALIR first attracted notice in late 1996 when it issued a statement putting a bounty on Americans.

Gerard Gahima, Rwanda's attorney general, said the three men charged were among about 3,000 rebels who were captured during a wave of attacks on Rwanda from rebel bases in Congo in May and August 2001. Interrogations revealed that they had participated in the 1999 attack, Gahima said.

"They basically admitted involvement in the attack and indicated that they were foot soldiers, not masterminds," Gahima said.

Chertoff said the investigation is continuing and further arrests are possible.

Haubner and Miller, both employees at Intel Corp.'s campus in Portland, Ore., were among a group of about 30 tourists visiting Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in hopes of seeing some of the rare mountain gorillas that roam the remote rain forest near the borders with Congo and Rwanda.

The rebels invaded the tourist campground on March 1, 1999, and forced 17 tourists who spoke English to remove shoes and begin marching. They also killed one of the park's guards, according the indictment, by pushing him under a truck and setting it on fire.

Eight were killed along the march with machetes and axes. Miller was also allegedly raped by one of the suspects.

One survivor of the attack was given a note by the rebels warning the United States and Great Britain not to interfere in Rwanda. Similar notes were found on the bodies of two of those killed.

On the Net: Justice Department

Copyright 2003 AP 03-04-03 08:41 EST The Associate Press.

Rain Forest Visitors Returning to Uganda

By HENRY WASSWA
The Associate Press

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - The remote rain forest here is famous as the home of more than half the world's rare mountain gorillas, drawing tourists from around the globe.

But four years ago, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park became the site of a horrific crime, as Rwandan rebels descended on a camp of tourists and slaughtered two Americans, four Britons, two New Zealanders and a Ugandan park warden with machetes and axes.

This week, three alleged rebels were flown to the United States to stand trial for murder in the deaths of the Americans, Rob Haubner and his wife Susan Miller of Portland, Ore.

In the meantime, tourists have been returning to the forest. In 2002, 4,600 people visited compared to 1,643 the year of the killing.

A World Heritage Site, the park is home to 350 of Africa's 650 remaining mountain gorillas. It is in the Kigezi highlands at the southwestern tip of Uganda bordering Rwanda and Congo.

President Yoweri Museveni visited the park shortly after it reopened and climbed through the forest to see the gorillas to prove the park was safe. Nancy Powell, then U.S. ambassador to Uganda, also went.

Hundreds of Ugandan soldiers were deployed to the park and its environs after the attack. Many still remain.

Before the killings, an average of 3,000 people visited each year. The number dropped by nearly half the year of the attack, the Uganda Wildlife Authority says.

Within a year, however, the number of tourists had risen to 3,983, and last year 4,600 visited the 79,000-acre preserve, the authority says.

"The increase is attributed to confidence in the tourism industry and the ability to recognize that the Bwindi incident was a one-time incident - not a pattern," spokeswoman Barbara Musoke said.

The three arrested Rwandans are said to be members of the Liberation Army of Rwanda, which was trying to pressure the United States and Britain to stop supporting the Rwandan government. The suspects were identified as Leonidas Bimenyiamana, 34; Francois Karake, 38; and Gregoire Nyaminami, 32.

The rebel group was formed in 1996 by members of the former Rwandan military and the civilian Interahamwe militia that carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. More than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in a 100-day slaughter orchestrated by Rwanda's then-Hutu extremist government.

The Liberation Army of Rwanda first attracted notice in late 1996 when it issued a statement putting a bounty on Americans.

The fighters who attacked the tourist compound forced 17 tourists who spoke English to remove their shoes and begin walking. Eight were killed along the march with machetes and axes, officials said.

One tourist who was spared was given a note by the rebels warning the United States and Britain not to interfere in Rwanda. Similar notes were found on the bodies of two of those killed.

Rwanda's attorney general, Gerard Gahima, said the three men charged in a U.S. indictment on Feb. 25 were among about 3,000 rebels who were captured during a wave of attacks on Rwanda from rebel bases in Congo in May and August 2001.

Michael Chertoff, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, called the arrests a signal that "those who commit acts of terror against Americans, whenever and wherever, will be hunted, captured and brought to justice."

The suspects were flown to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico for initial court appearances. They were to be tried in a federal court in Washington.

The New Zealand government said Tuesday it was asking U.S. authorities to consider charging the three suspects with the murder of the two New Zealander tourists.

Elizabeth Kuteesa, director of Uganda's Criminal Investigation Department, said she had no problem with the suspects being tried in the United States.

"We have been working together on this problem - Uganda, Rwanda and the United States," she said.

Copyright 2003 AP 03-05-03 01:41 EST The Associate Press.

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