Residents of Nyabimata village in Nyaruguru district, Southern Rwanda, cannot hide their happiness since Monday when they heard from their radio sets that Paul Rusesabagina, the supreme leader of the rebels that wreaked havoc, looted and killed their own was arrested and surprisingly under Police detention in Rwanda.
Taarifa investigative team is currently on a fact-finding tour of this part of Rwanda that has previously suffered attacks from barbaric terrorists known as the National Liberation Front (FLN).
About three years ago, Paul Rusesabagina appeared in a recorded video message inscribed with a FLN logo, the armed wing of Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRDC). He declared war against the government of Rwanda.
He claimed that after trying many methods, they failed to remove the regime in Kigali. “The FLN will use all possible means including the armed struggle to drive the RPF out of power since it refused all peaceful ways,” Rusesabagina said in a message both in English and Kinyarwanda. His terror group later circulated the video via social media platforms.
Later, attacks were executed in parts of Rwanda especially the area bordering Nyungwe forest. A handful Rwandans were shot, homes looted and many injured in the attacks that took place in different phases.
On June 19, 2018, Josephine Nyiragema, 62, a resident of Ruhinga cell of Cyumuzi Sector was sleeping at 11 pm and suddenly the rebels banged the door and entered.
“They placed a gun on my chest and another rebel pointed the gun onto my head. They ordered me to surrender all the money I had in the house. I only had Rwf5,600. I gave it to them,” Nyiragema narrated her ordeal to Taarifa. She remembers pleading with the rebels not to kill her. Other rebels were ransacking the kitchen and other rooms. They didn’t harm her and walked out with everything in the house including food, clothing and other items.
On April 13, 2019, as the sunset residents of Nyabimata village, Uwinkindi Sector in Nyamagabe district retired to their homes as they have always done in decades. Little did they know that far away across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States, a heartless Paul Rusesabagina had finalised another plan to attack this village.
This fateful night has never escaped the minds of residents at Uwinkingi sector of Nyamagabe.
In an exclusive conversation, Ntakirende Ntiransiga and his wife Odette Uwamahoro told Taarifa that they have not recovered from the April 2019 attack. The rebels shot Ntiransiga four times before looting everything from his home including neighbours. After their attack, they proceeded to another area close to Nyungwe forest.
Another resident suffered when he came face to face with the rebels. Daniel Minani, 66, had just gone to bed at 10am on April 13, 2019, and suddenly unknown people knocked on the door. They identified themselves as security personnel and told him not to worry. His wife opened the door. They went direct to the bedroom and began looting. “They looted beans, maize, flour,” Minani told Taarifa.
“They walked into the kraal and took my goats, and my son confronted them. They shot him dead. I will never forget the scene. It was a barbaric act. My daughter was about to wed, unfortunately, we called it off. I am still devastated,” Minani narrated his ordeal.
The following day, FLN Spokesperson, Callixte Nsabimana, took to international media and social media boasting that his rebel group had carried out the attacks.
In December last year, Nsabimana also claimed responsibility for setting fire on passenger buses in Nyungwe forest, which led to the death of two people and many injuries.
President Paul Kagame later announced that he was going to fight against anyone who would disturb peace in the Nyungwe forest.
The Rwandan security was working round the clock to neutralise these terrorists. Through a very strong diplomatic advantage, the government of Rwanda managed to capture Callixte Nsabimana on April 30, 2019, in Comoros Islands.
“Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has detained Nsabimana Callixte a.k.a Sankara, while processing his criminal case file,” RIB said last year. This news was highly appreciated in Rwanda and especially it brought moments of celebration in Nyabimata village.