U.S. border officials who arrested a suspected war criminal wanted in Canada near Richmond Corner, N.B., have an ordinary citizen to thank for their success.
Jean Leonard Teganya, 42, has been a fugitive since 2011 when he was ordered deported from this country.
A Canadian warrant says Teganya was wanted in his home country of Rwanda for violating human rights under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act related to the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.
Early Sunday morning, a suspicious man was spotted on the American side of the Canada and U.S. border trying to cross through the woods.
A resident in Houlton, Maine, which shares a border with Richmond Corner, N.B., alerted U.S. border guards Aug. 3.
The border patrol says a U.S. agent then found Teganya, stopped him for questioning and arrested him.
“Certainly there’s a risk that dangerous individuals, terrorists, criminals will try to utilize the remoteness of the area, to take advantage of it and sneak in,” said Patrick Murphy, division chief for the U.S. border patrol in Houlton.
Denied refugee bid
Teganya arrived in Canada in 1999, settling in Quebec.
In 2011, he applied for and was denied refugee status on the grounds that, while a medical intern, he was complicit in an incident at a Rwandan hospital that saw nearly 200 Tutsis killed.
Teganya, an ethnic Hutu, argued that if he was sent back he would be detained without charge, as his father was.
He was ordered to be deported but disappeared and a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest.
“It’s incredibly important to have the community be our extra eyes and ears because they know the area as well or better than our agents do,” said Murphy. “They‘re familiar with who belongs and who doesn’t in the area.”
Teganya is waiting to be processed at a U.S. federal court.
A hearing will decide if he will be deported to Rwanda or sent back to Canada.