Rwanda arrests rebel leader over deadly attacks

Tuesday April 30 2019

Dieudonné Niyonsenga was arrested mid-April for breaching lockdown rules and for issuing his driver unauthorised press pass. FOTOSEARCH


The Rwandan government said Tuesday it had arrested a rebel leader alleged to be behind a spate of deadly attacks in a forested area near Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Callixte Nsabimana is accused of forming "an irregular armed group, complicity in committing terrorist acts... taking persons hostage, murder, and looting," a government statement said.

Nsabimana is the spokesman for the National Liberation Front (FLN), an armed group which has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in Nyungwe, a region popular among tourists coming to see endangered mountain gorillas.

The FLN is affiliated with the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR)—a rebel group based in the DRC which carries out cross-border attacks on Rwandan forces.

Nsabimana has claimed responsibility for the attacks via social media, claiming that his rebel group's agenda was to topple long-serving President Paul Kagame.

Rwandan officials declined to provide further details about the date of his arrest or when he will appear in court.


"We have had him for not for a long time, and not for a short time," Minister of Foreign Affairs, Richard Sezibera told a press conference Tuesday.

In December last year, Nsabimana claimed responsibility for setting fire on passenger buses in Nyungwe Forest, which led to the death of two people and many injuries.

"He has been arrested and brought back here," said Sezibera.

The attacks in Nyungwe prompted many western countries such as France, Germany, Canada and Australia to advise their nationals against travel to the area.