Rwanda’s major terror suspect “Sankara” accused of ‘fomenting rebellion’

Rwanda's prosecutors on Tuesday accused terror suspect Callixte Nsabimana a.k.a Major Sankara of encouraging 'dangerous acts' since he was enrolled…

Rwanda’s prosecutors on Tuesday accused terror suspect Callixte Nsabimana a.k.a Major Sankara of encouraging ‘dangerous acts’ since he was enrolled at University and said the defendant has been for long “fomenting domestic rebellion” against the institutions of government.Among other charges, Nsabimana faces include the  formation of an illegal militia group; taking part in terrorist  activities, conspiring and sensitizing people towards joining terrorism,  killing, kidnapping, denying and undermining the genocide against the  Tutsi, among others.

According to the prosecutor, his journey  began when he was expelled from a government university in Rwanda, then  reappeared in South Africa as a member of the group led by former Rwanda  Defense Forces (RDF) chief of General staff Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa. He  also spent time in Indian Ocean island of Comoros.

In the wee  hours of June 19-20, 2018, an armed gang carrying crude weapons and guns  attacked Nyabimata sector, in Nyaruguru district. The sector borders  directly with Burundi, and a large portion of it is covered by Nyungwe  forest national park.

Witnesses said at the time that the  assailants were over 30. They stormed the home of Nyabimata executive  secretary Nsengiyumva Vincent. They left him fighting for his life, set  his house on fire and torched his car. The attack killed two people.

Then  about two weeks later around 11pm on July 1, which is the uncelebrated  Independence Day in Rwanda, another attack took place in the same area.  The Assailants came from the direction of Nyungwe forest, fired  sporadically – which forced all to stay inside their homes.

The  gang forced their way into homes, looted food, clothing, animals and  money. They fled back to the forest, which is barely two kilometers  away.

About three weeks later on July 20, a statement appeared on  Facebook of a group calling itself ‘National Liberation Forces (FLN)’.  It had a logo of ‘Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD)’.

At  the bottom of the statement was signed ‘Maj Callixte Sankara’, as 2nd  deputy for MRCD and spokesman of FLN. MRCD was founded by Paul  Rusesabagina, the personality whose story that claims saving people  during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, was dramatized in Hollywood’s  “Hotel Rwanda”. He lives between France and U.S.

NLF is a  military wing of a Rwanda opposition political party, the Rwandan  Movement for Democratic Change led by Rwandan dissident Paul  Rusesabagina, known for protecting people during 1994’s Rwandan genocide  as a manager of Hotel des Mille Collines.

For the second  consecutive day, the trial was conducted digitally due to COVID-19  measures where all the parties made submissions through a live video  link.

The former rebel leader also spent time in Indian Ocean island of Comoros.

For  years, since he began dissident activities in South Africa with the  Rwandan National Congress (RNC) of Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, Sankara always  appears in dark sunglasses.

On capture before his extradition to  Rwanda, Sankara was found with Lesotho passport under the names Kabera  Joseph, born from Masisi, DR Congo. It was acquired in 2013. Sankara  paid 5,000 South African Rands ($ 300 USD). Prosecution says it is a  fake passport.