The Government has dismissed claims by a rebel leader that they were collaborating with the Ugandan military against its neighbors as “rubbish”.
The spokesperson of the National Liberation Front (FLN), an armed wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, Callixte Nsabimana, is said to have confessed of orchestrating terrorism and murder against Rwanda with support from the Ugandan army and Burundi’s intelligence services.
Nsabimana reportedly pleaded guilty to terrorism charges during a Kigali court trial whose details are still scanty. Nsabimana was arrested late last month for his involvement with FLN, an insurgent movement blamed for attacks inside Rwanda from a forested area near Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also known as Sankara, Nsabimana is said to have pleaded guilty to 16 counts, including terrorism and murder, and offered an unconditional apology to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame for his crimes. When contacted, the army spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire, declined to comment on bilateral relations with neighboring countries, while the junior international affairs minister, Okello Oryem, simply said, “that is rubbish,” before hanging up.
Nsabimana’s lawyer is said to be preparing to request for bail in a hearing set for Tuesday next week but prosecution is opposed to it after declaring the accused a ‘flight risk’. In December, Nsabimana reportedly claimed responsibility for setting fire to passenger buses in Nyungwe Forest leading to the death of two people and several injuries.
In his conspiracy confession, Nsabimana admitted to collaborating with Burundi’s intelligence services and Uganda’s military. In February, relations between Rwanda and Uganda soured after the formerly blocked trucks of cargo at Katuna, its busiest border point and barred its nationals, including school-going children, from crossing into Uganda.
A week later, the Rwandan foreign affairs minister, Richard Sezibera, issued a media statement accusing Uganda of backing ‘rebel groups’ opposed to Kagame’s government. Subsequently, Rwanda also issued a travel advisory warning citizens against visiting Uganda, claiming they face illegal arrests, torture, and deportations with 200 citizens being held incommunicado.
However, all the allegations were dispelled by foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa. “RNC and FDLR work from Uganda with support of some authorities there. This is another serious case and we have raised it with them,” Sezibera told journalists.
Although South African based Kayumba Nyamwasa who fell out with Kagame in 2010 acknowledges leadership to RNC and dissent from Rwanda’s government, in an interview with Sunday Vision, he refuted claims of receiving support from Uganda.