Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Spice Girl and the "war criminal": Mel B to spend Christmas with Rwandan president suspected of masterminding bloody coup

  • Paul Kagame, 56, is said to have armed murderous M23 rebels in Congo
  • Was warned by the United Nations last year he could face war crimes trial
  • Scary Spice says she's been invited for Christmas by Kagame's children
  • Singer is friends with Ivan and Ange whom she knows from New York
  • Mother of three says she will spend Christmas at leader's Rwandan palace

Mail Online
Scary Spice Mel B is planning to celebrate Christmas with a controversial East African dictator accused by the United Nations of masterminding a bloody rebellion.

The former Spice Girl, 38, is said to have accepted an invitation from Rwandan president Paul Kagame, 56, to spend Christmas at his palace with her three children.

The singer, whose real name is Melanie Brown and who lives in Las Vegas with husband Stephen Belafonte and children Phoenix, 14, Angel, six, and Madison, two, says she was invited by Kagame's children Ivan and Ange, who are friends of hers from New York.

Holiday: Mel B, 38, will spend Christmas with East African dictator Paul Kagame, 56, at his Rwandan palace

Kagame, Rwandan leader since 1999, defeated Hutu extremists in his own country to end the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  But he was warned by the UN last year that he could face a war crimes trial of his own for arming rebel groups responsible for atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A devastating UN report accused Rwanada of effectively masterminding a murderous rebellion in the neighbouring country which has forced half a million people from their homes.
The report, leaked last October, said the uprising by the so-called M23 rebels in Congo was receiving ‘direct military orders’ from Rwanda’s army chief and Kagame’s defence minister.

The rebellion was led on the ground by Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Rebels were accused of recruiting child soldiers, waging a campaign of terror against civilians and government forces and attacking UN peacekeepers sent to the region.

However Kagame has made it his mission to forge close personal ties with Western leaders, counting David Cameron and Tony Blair as friends.

Fighting: Congolese government troops trading heavy weapons fire with M23 rebels in eastern Congo in July 2012

Bloody past: Kagame was praised for ending Rwanda's genocide - but now may face war crimes charges of his own.

Now he is set to pull crackers with a former Spice Girl later this month.

Yorkshire-born Mel B, now a judge on America's Got Talent, told the Mirror: 'We've got this amazing trip planned and we're staying with the president, Paul Kagame.'I know his son and daughter because they live in New York and they're adorable people.'

She added: 'I said to the kids "Do you want to go to Africa and see lions, tigers and bears or stay at home and watch TV all day?"'

Kagame, who has denounced Western criticism of his regime's role in Congo, says the problems in the asset-rich country were caused not by Rwanda but by 'the international community'.

And he denied arming M23 rebels, saying: 'We are not supplying even one bullet.  We have not and we will not.'


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