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Family of real life ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero files $400m suit against government following conviction

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Following the controversial conviction of the world famous ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero, Paul Rusesabagina by a Rwandan court last month, his family has filed a $400 million lawsuit in the US over his alleged abduction and torture by the government in Kigali.

Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was depicted in the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ is respected the world over as a hero who saved the lives of thousands by providing shelter for them when he was the manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali during the genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

The lawsuit filed by Rusesabagina’s family names the Government of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, and other senior officials including the former Justice Minister and Intelligence Chief as part of those who abducted and tortured him.

A lawyer to the Rusesabagina family in a statement on Saturday, said:

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Rwanda, the President and high-ranking Rwandan officials conspired to facilitate and execute an elaborate plot to lure Paul Rusesabagina from his home in Texas to Rwanda, where he would be tortured and illegally detained.”

According to the family, the 67-year-old Rusesabagina who is a holder of a US green card, as well as Belgian citizenship, was tricked into travelling from the US to Burundi in 2020 by the promise of work.

“Instead, he was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment,” according to the statement.

The family also aver that the conviction of the ailing hero is effectively a death sentence for him.

He is now currently serving 25 years in prison on terrorism charges following a trial last year, which his supporters say was riddled with irregularities.

He was first brought to Rwanda in 2020 and convicted in September 2021 for alleged involvement in a rebel group blamed for deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

Rusesabagina’s family and lawyers say they will hold a news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 4, to announce further details of the suit, which is seeking at least $400m (380 million euros) in compensation, as well as punitive damages.

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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