Rwandan genocide suspect Fulgence Kayishema has appeared in court in Cape Town after his arrest on Wednesday, ahead of his pending extradition to Rwanda.
South African police spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo earlier told the BBC that it was a “big and lengthy operation” to arrest him – one of the most wanted people in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Mr Kayishema, 61, “has used a number of false identities, and during the time of his arrest he was found to be calling himself Donatien Nibashumba”, Brig Mbambo said.
The former police inspector was charged in 2001 over the killing of more than 2,000 ethnic Tutsi men, women and children inside a Catholic church where they had sought refuge.
Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide.
According to the indictment, Mr Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of the massacre at the Nyange church in Kivumu, Kibuye prefecture, on 15 April 1994.
It says Mr Kayishema and others tried to burn the church down with the refugees inside. When this failed, they bulldozed it, burying and killing all those hiding there.
Their corpses were then buried in mass graves. He reportedly faces five charges in South Africa, including for fraud, however he was not asked to enter a plea, Reuters news agency reports.
Mr Kayishema told journalists in the courtroom that he had no role to play in any violence, according to Reuters.
He “was working as a labourer in a big farm” in Paarl nearly 60km (37 miles) west of Cape Town, police say.
“When he was arrested, he was staying alone, his family is in Cape Town, there are certain things that are going to be subject of investigation, but he was staying alone in the farm,” Brig Mbambo added.