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Meet Matakamba The Coordinator Of Nyungwe Attacks

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On October 19, 2019, residents of Kamembe town spent an entire night in panic after a grenade blast injured four people. The grenade blew off at about 7:30 PM.

Police said then that it had immediately launched thorough investigations and almost a week later, four handcuffed men were brought before the public in Rusizi town. Exhibits included four rusty AK 47 rifles and fully loaded magazines. Witnesses were in utter shock.

Berchmans Matakamba,58, a resident from Rusizi district was among the four suspects and is currently being detained as he waits for a verdict on his involvement in subversive activities.

He was arrested following a tip-off from residents that he was the mastermind behind sporadic attacks in the town of Rusizi and also facilitating successful attacks in the Nyungwe forest.

He confessed that he indeed had been the coordinator of terror activities masterminded by the FLN rebel outfit which was then commanded by Gen.Wilson Irategeka who would later be killed by DR Congo Special Forces in the jungles of Eastern Kivu.

While one of Matakamba’s children enjoyed a government scholarship to China, he was busy mobilising deadly attacks in his home town of Mururu in Rusizi district and facilitating attacks in Nyungwe forest.

Matakamba had offered to store ammunition inside a stone quarry and sand mining sites. He produced all the ammunition brought before residents in his home village in October 2019 after his arrest together with three other suspects.

“I was recruited by someone called Justin in MRCD party,” he confessed then.” “He put me in contact with another man called Pacifique, who was the contact person of FLN (military wing of MRCD). I was tasked with facilitating their mission to overthrow the government,” Matakamba confessed.

The scene was devastating. Residents in Rusizi were in shock. Matakamba was considered a man of integrity and supportive of development in the area. As a wealthy man, some residents looked up to him for inspiration, particularly the youth.

“I was recruited by a man known as Justin. He registered me in a party called MRCD (Rusesabagina’s yet to be a registered political party),” Matakamba reveled in front of residents.

“He told me he was the coordinator of recruitment and put me in contact with another man called Paccy, who was in charge of FLN operations, ” he said while pleading guilty and begging for clemency.

A source told Taarifa that the attacks had not only wreaked havoc in the area but also destabilised national security apparatus.

“These attacks were unique and deadly in all dimensions,” the source said. “These are people who socialised with the community, shared everything, assessed the situation, and later attacked the same community.”

Taarifa is reliably told that because of his status and influence, Matakamba used to be invited into RPF (ruling party) meetings as an opinion leader.

“He would listen to everything; even make financial contributions, “the source told Taarifa. “But behind him was a double agent.”

When he was paraded before residents as a suspect, most of them chanted slogans of disgrace. They cursed him and demanded for justice.

“I want my bus back,” one of the businessmen at the gathering demanded. His bus carrying passengers from Rusizi to Huye district was burnt to ashes by rebels in the forest.

On December 12, 2018, Desire Ngirababyeyi was ferrying passengers from Rusizi to Huye through Nyungwe forest in one of the buses from a fleet that belongs to a Rusizi businessman. “I had 26 passengers onboard,” he told Taarifa on Saturday from his home in Nyamasheke District.

“I had just bypassed a bus that was burning along the highway in the middle of the forest. We were all terrified. Passengers began screaming. I was confused and scared. I did not know what to do,” the 32-year-old Ngirababyeyi testified.

Apparently, he had seen a child helplessly burn in the bus as other passengers dispersed into the forest. “Suddenly, gunshots were fired on us. I lost control. I swung the bus off the road. I told passengers to calm down,” he recalled. “A few minutes later an explosive device was fired directly at the bus. It blasted into fragments,” Ngirababyeyi testified.

“At this time, all passengers were crying, scared, and traumatized before the rebels surrounded everyone on gunpoint and looted everything they carried,” he said. Later, all passengers were rescued by RDF Special Forces but lost all their properties. Ngirababyeyi is still nursing wounds on his leg caused by a fragment.

L-R Desire Ngirababyeyi (sustained bomb fragments in his body) Fabrice Rugamba traumatised by the attack in which he was wounded but his colleague killed.

A day before this attack, on December 14, another attack had been carried out and one college student died in the violent incident. Fabrice Rugamba, lost his classmate in the attack and told Taarifa that the memory of the incident still haunts him till today.

“They picked six boys from the bus and walked us a long distance into the bush. They later abandoned me because I was wounded. The rest were taken to forcefully join the rebel group,” the 22year-old Rugamba testified. “I am still traumatized. It will take long for me to take a bus through Nyungwe forest,” he says. “I hope we get justice too.”

Meanwhile, as Matakamba and his colleagues await sentencing, their financier, Paul Rusesabagina is also soon going to be assembled before the court to answer several charges including terrorism, arson, kidnapping, and murder.

The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) told Taarifa on Monday that the file would be submitted to prosecution on Tuesday morning. “Tomorrow [Tuesday] we will forward the case file to the prosecution, ” RIB Secretary-General (Rtd) Col Jeannot Ruhunga confirmed.

RIB Submits Rusesabagina’s File To Prosecution

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Rwanda Police Chief Briefs 240 Officers Ahead Of S. Sudan Deployment

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The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, on Tuesday, March 9, briefed 240 police officers set to be deployed for peacekeeping duties under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The pre-deployment briefing of the hybrid Formed Police Unit-One (FPU-1) contingent was held at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.

The contingent commanded by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Faustin Kalimba, will replaced the same number in Malakal, Upper Nile State where they will be largely charged with protection of civilians in internally displaced camps, UN personnel, security of key installations and humanitarian assistance, among others.

IGP Munyuza urged the officers to use their experience and the high level of training acquired to execute their peacekeeping mandate effectively.

He further reminded them that they will work with other peacekeepers from different countries and they will have to exercise respect of diversity.

“Learning will be continuous throughout your tour-of-duty, use your experience to build on what your predecessors achieved, cooperative with other peacekeepers in the mission area and respect the people under your protection as well as their culture,” IGP Munyuza emphasized.

He urged them to keep up the good conduct and protect the image set by previous contingents adding that ” you are representing your country, be at the best of your performance.”

“Your country and Rwanda National Police in particular, have full trust in you, resilience and sacrifice are key. Remember, your conduct and professionalism will depict the image and values of Rwandans, ensure your performance is exceptionally good and maintain the same spirit to the end of your mission,” said IGP Munyuza.

The Police Chief reminded them that Rwandan peacekeepers are defined by their professionalism, discipline, teamwork, integrity, values and alertness, and urged them to keep the momentum to “maintain and protect the image and reputation.”

He emphasized that respecting each other and their superiors in particular, discipline, hard work, teamwork, dignity and respect for diversity are strong guiding values and principles which will help them towards mission excellence.

IGP Munyuza appealed to the officers to maintain the spirit of supporting others and to engage in human security activities with the local people they are mandated to serve.

‘’Participating in human security activities is our culture as Rwandans, you should not only conduct peacekeeping duties just to maintain peace and security. It goes beyond that as our tradition to work towards the overall wellbeing of the people,” IGP Munyuza said.

As the wolrd is still faced with the pandemic of COVID-19, the Police Chief reminded them to always observe all health guidelines including wearing face masks, avoiding shaking hands, washing hands and practicing social distancing, among others.

This will be the sixth rotation of FPU-1 hybrid since the first one was deployed in South Sudan in 2015.

It is also one of the three Rwandan FPU contingents currently deployed in South Sudan.

Currently, RNP maintains over 1000 police peacekeepers in various UN missions, including six contingents serving in UNMISS and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

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Chinese Companies Win Tender to Construct Railway From Mwanza to Isaka 

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The Standard Gauge Railway from Mwanza to Isaka in neighbouring Tanzania will be constructed by two Chinese Companies that have won a lucrative tender for this job.

Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi Tanzania’s foreign minister said on Thursday during a presser on the eve of the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit to Tanzania.

The Mwanza-Isaka railway stretch will cover a distance of 341 kilometres and construction is estimated to cost TShs3 trillion will be handled by China Civil Engineering Construction (CCEC) and China Railway Construction Company (CRCC).

The Tanzanian government through the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) is constructing a 2,561Km SGR network that links Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Kigoma, Katavi and neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi Uganda and DRC.

The over Sh7 trillion project is being implemented in phases with the first round covering 202km between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, was initially scheduled to be ready by November 2020 but heavy rains disrupted construction works.

Construction of the first and the second phase is being undertaken by Turkish construction company, Yapi Markez.

The first phase will have six main stations at Dar es Salaam, Pugu, Soga, Ruvu, Ngerengere and Morogoro, with the Dar es Salaam and Morogoro stations being the largest.

The second phase which is under implementation involves 422km between Morogoro and Makutupora in Singida with the project set to be completed within 36 months at a cost of $1,924 billion.

The railway is East Africa’s fastest and will use electricity to move trains will travel at 160km per hour and transport 10,000 tonnes of freight which is equivalent to 500 cargo trucks.

Upon completion, the SGR project is expected to payback the investment value after 15 years.

In October 2020, Tanzania government signed $60 million (about Sh138 billion) contract with a South Korean firm to supply trains for the standard gauge railway (SGR).

 

The Citizen

 

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Trump Attacks Election Integrity As Biden Nears 270 Electoral College Votes

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President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat contender gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump has advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. Thursday’s moves amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.

The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years.

His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.

Electoral college magic number

Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, and has been inching closer to overtaking the president in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where votes are still being counted. It remains unclear when a national winner will be declared after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy.

On Wednesday, The U.S.set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.

Rising tensions

Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”

“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden said. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

 

Biden’s victories in the upper Midwest put him in a strong position, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 73 million votes, the most in history.

Trump’s erroneous claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.

Lawsuits and late mail-in ballots

Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.

Trump has held a small edge in Georgia, though Biden has been gaining on him as votes continue to be counted. The same is true in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s lead had slipped to about 22,000 votes — and the race is destined to get tighter.

One reason is because elections officials were not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favour after Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden’s direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.

The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.

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