Rwanda: RNC Operative Coordinates Terror Plots Against Rwanda From U.S.

Photo: New Times
Jean-Paul Turayishimiye the Rwanda National Congress chief of intelligence.

A top operative of Rwanda National Congress - its chief of intelligence - that is based in the United States has continued to plot and devise schemes by which to perpetrate terror attacks on Rwanda, targeting top government officials and ordinary members of the public.

The Boston-based Jean-Paul Turayishimiye - according to members of the Rwandan Diaspora community in the Massachusetts area that we talked to, and according to his various Facebook posts - is the person in charge of "research and information" for RNC.

This is the terror group behind grenade blasts in Rwanda that lasted from 2010 to 2014, claiming a total of 17 lives and injured or maimed over 400.

According to sources, Turayishimiye the chief of intelligence of RNC, is also "the right hand man" of Kayumba Nyamwasa - the head of RNC holed up in South Africa as a fugitive from the law - and reports directly to him.

Security analysts say that RNC fits all the textbook definitions of a terrorist group. It has openly declared war on a legitimate government elected by its people. RNC has detonated grenades, killing innocent Rwandan civilians as an act of war. In October 2014, one of its operatives, Joel Mutabazi was tried on charges of plotting to assassinate Rwanda's Head of State and being an accomplice in acts of terrorism.

During the lengthy course of the trial, the Military High Court in Kigali heard how Mutabazi was to get a payment of US$50,000 from RNC to perpetrate the terrorist attack on the President.

The court sentenced him to life imprisonment for that offence, and a raft of other charges including complicity in grenade attacks and dissemination of harmful propaganda.

Further confirmation of the nature of RNC came in the form of a report by the UN Group of Experts on DRC issued on December 31, 2018.

The report described in great detail the terrorist activities of RNC, as the senior partner of the "P5" group in eastern DRC.

The report detailed RNC's recruitment strategies, its training for war; its acquisitions of firearms and explosives.

"All these acts clearly were those of a terror group, no different than Al Shabaab or even Al Qaeda," said a Kigali-based analyst.

Jean Paul Turayishimiye, who also happens to hold US permanent residence, is one of the RNC's bigwigs - the mastermind of the RNC plots and terror attacks, going by his designation as "chief of intelligence".

"It is unconscionable that Turayishimiye, a senior member of a group as dangerous as RNC that has been proven beyond doubt to be a terror organisation is operating freely in the US," commented a Rwandan resident of the town of Lowell, Massachusetts.

"The US is known as a country that takes a strong stance against terrorism of all sorts, so it is hard to understand why someone like Turayishimiye has not been arrested," added our source who requested anonymity in our interview by email.

An indepth investigation conducted by this newspaper has revealed the extent to which Turayishimiye is involved in the grenade attacks, and plots to destabilise Rwanda.

An example came to light when one Joseph Nshimiyimana aka Camarade, stood trial for his role in twin grenade attacks at Kicukiro Market, on September 13, 2013. That particular blast killed two people and injured six others. Nshimiyimana confessed that it was Jean Paul Turayishimiye that recruited him into RNC and gave him plans, funding and instructions to perpetrate the attack.

The same Jean-Paul Turayishimiye was the handler of Joel Mutabazi and his accomplice, one Cpl. Kalisa, in the failed assassination plot against the Head of State.

According to different sources, RNC's main strategy was to attack the person of the Head of State during the 2017 presidential elections, "for maximum psychological effect". The plan also involved destruction - with explosives - of "critical national infrastructure, causing an effect as if the government no longer was in control of the country."

According to sources, Turayishimiye instructed clandestine RNC's operatives in Kigali to gather information on social infrastructure like bridges and other strategic installations in and around Kigali. The plot was to attack different installations with high-powered explosives, during the same period - the 2017 presidential elections.

Training for these attacks, according to information we have pieced together, was to be carried out in one of the neighbouring countries. The training involved acquisition of skills in arson attacks using improvised explosive devices. Court documents of terror trials in Kigali indicate that recruitment of the grenade throwers or arsonists was the task of one Patrick Rukundo, a former double agent of FDLR ( remnants of the forces that committed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in which over a million people lost their lives) and RNC that was based in Kampala.

Rukundo used the advantage of Kampala as the de facto "first home" of RNC to build a network of RNC agents in Rwanda. This would come to light when Rukundo stepped onto Rwanda - thinking his identity was unknown - and got arrested. During his court trial, he confessed everything regarding the role of Jean Paul Turayishimiye.

According to information we have gathered, attacks during the elections were to be carried out in two phases: the blasts at the infrastructure installations and other targets, which would "pave way for more violent operations", (the second phase). Sleeper cells were to carry out the "support activities" of disseminating tracts of misinformation, to further exacerbate the impression of confusion, disorder and disaffection with the administration.

The planning, transfer of payments to the operatives for their transportation and other needs, coordination with training cells in the neighbouring country, everything was the work of Turayishimiye.

All the plotting was disrupted before it could be carried out, with the agents of terror arrested well before they could hit a single installation or get anywhere near a high-profile individual.

But analysts say that has not stopped RNC, or Turayishimiye. This newspaper established that the latter still very much is scheming terror attacks inside Rwanda, while stepping up efforts for recruitment in the region for the RNC's armed wing based in eastern DRC.

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