Rwanda: Prosecution Takes Over Nsabimana Case

Photo: New Times
Callixte Nsabimana (left) consults his lawyer Moise Nkundabarashi in court.

Terror suspect Callixte Nsabimana's case is now in the hands of the National Public Prosecution Authority.

Officials from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) handed over the case file to NPPA Friday, the same day RIB paraded the suspect before the media in Kigali.

RIB announced late April it had taken into custody Nsabimana who had been indicted over several offences, including formation of an irregular armed group, complicity in committing terrorist acts, conspiracy and incitement to commit terrorist acts, taking persons hostage, murder, and looting.

Rwandan prosecution office had in November 2018 issued an arrest warrant for the self-style army major after he repeatedly used different media platforms to brag about and claim responsibility for fatal raids on villages in and around Nyungwe National Park.

Several people lost their lives when an armed group raided Nyabimata sector and ambushed buses, with the attackers also abducting several others.

The group also set homes ablaze, looted and destroyed properties worth millions of Francs.

"We expect to produce him before court within the next five working days as required by the law," Prosecutor-General Jean Bosco Mutangana told Saturday Times last evening.

That means the suspect is supposed to be arraigned in court by Friday.

Nsabimana is one of the personalities who have previously been indicted by Rwanda over involvement in subversive and terrorist activities.

They include South Africa-based Kayumba Nyamwasa of RNC and Belgium-based Paul Rusesabagina, whose contentious narrative about his role during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi inspired the Hollywood movie, Hotel Rwanda.

FLN, the armed group for which Nsabimana (who called himself Sankara) served as spokesperson, is an affiliate of MRCD led by Rusasabagina.

Nsabimana was deputy to Rusesabagina in MRCD.

FLN first raided a Rwandan village near the border with Burundi in June last year, before another attack in December, when three passenger service vehicles were ambushed inside Nyungwe Forest.

Two passengers were killed, while eight were injured and several others taken hostage for days before they were rescued by Rwanda Defence Force.

FLN is said to work in cohort with other armed groups like RNC and FDLR, an offshoot of the forces that committed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

A UN report of experts released in December indicated that several groups, including RNC of Kayumba Nyamwasa, had joined hands and set up a training base in eastern DR Congo with the intention of destabilising Rwanda.

There were also credible reports that RNC, FDLR and other rebel groups were in talks - with the support of Ugandan government - to form a common front against Kigali. Two senior FLDR leaders who were last year arrested by the Congolese authorities on their way from one of such meeting in Uganda and later transferred to Rwanda have since corroborated those accounts.

Addressing the media in Kigali yesterday, RIB Spokesman Modeste Mbabazi, said: "No place is too far when it comes to justice".

Moise Nkundabarashi, who Nsabimana chose to represent him, said his client was in good health and getting access to whatever he needs in detention.

"My client is being detained lawfully. Every suspect has a right to seek medical attention. He is healthy and getting everything that he needs and, as of today, he has not had any sickness," his lawyer said.

He pointed out that the full extent of his client's list of accusations was not yet clear since investigations are still ongoing.

Nsabimana first attracted media attention during the trial of musician Kizito Mihigo several years ago, who was accused of working with foreign-based dissidents to conduct subversive activities on the Rwandan territory.

Kizito, who has since been tried, convicted and granted presidential clemency, colluded with Nsabimana to plot assassinations of officials in Rwanda, among other subversive activities.

Before he fled the country, Nsabimana had been dismissed by the then National University of Rwanda (now University of Rwanda) over divisionism and making the university "ungovernable".

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