Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has paraded Self-styled Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara, the spokesperson of a terror group that calls itself FLN, which has mounted terror attacks on Rwandan territory in areas around Nyungwe National Park.

At about 9.10am on Friday morning, a blue and white van carrying Nsabimana arrived at RIB headquarters in Kimihurura and paraded before tens of local and foreign journalists.

In handcuffs, Nsabimana was then led into the room by two police officers. He smiled as he went past the group of journalists. Clad in sunglasses, sky blue shirt, grey pants and black loafers and stood before the media for about two minutes and quickly whisked back to the van which promptly sped off.

The first of such attacks happened last year in June in Nyabimata Sector, Nyamagabe District where two people died and property was looted while other items like a vehicle were burned. Nsabimana would later claim responsibility of the incident in international press.

Another attack was launched a few months later in December, where three passenger service vehicles were attacked by assailants inside Nyungwe Forest.

Two people were killed, while eight were injured and a number of others taken hostage for days before they were rescued by Rwanda Defence Force.

FLN, which is led by another Rwandan dissident Paul Rusesabagina, is said to work in cohorts with other groups like Rwanda National Congress and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Upon his arrest last month, RIB said Nsabimana was being probed for number of crimes including formation of an irregular armed group, complicity in committing terrorist acts, conspiracy and incitement to commit terrorist acts, taking persons hostage, murder, and looting.

Warning issued

Addressing members of the media; the Spokesman of RIB; Modeste Mbabazi warned those seeking to destabilize the country that there is no place to hide when it comes to bringing to book those sought by the judiciary.

“No place is too far when it comes to seeking justice. Let anyone who wants to destabilize the peace that is enjoyed by Rwandans know that where you may be, you will be brought to book,” he said.

When asked whether the suspect could be visited by family and friends, Mbabazi said that it was still too soon but eventually that would be granted.

“Terrorism crimes have a specific law because they fall in a special category. Right now, he is still under investigation but in the future, there may be opportunities for those interested in visiting him to do so,” he said.

In good health

The accused’s lawyer, Moise Nkundabarashi, who Nsabimana specifically chose to represent him said that his client was in good health and getting access to whatever he needs in detention.

“My client is being detained lawfully. Every suspect has a right to seek medical attention. He is healthy and getting everything that he needs and as of today, he has not had any sickness,” he said.

He pointed out that the full extent of his client’s list of accusations was not yet clear since investigations are still ongoing.

“I have spent time with my client before and during his questioning. The crimes that he is being accused of are contained in a dossier that the Rwanda Bureau of Investigations is investigating and they are tied to terrorism. The details of the crimes that he is accused of will be available when he appears in court,” he said.

Nsabimana first attracted media attention during the trial of musician Kizito Mihigo, who was accused of working with foreign-based dissidents to conduct subversive activities on the Rwandan territory.

Kizito, who has since been tried, convicted and recently granted a presidential pardon, colluded with Nsabimana to plot assassinations of different officials in Rwanda, among other subversive activities.

Before he fled the country, Nsabimana had been dismissed by the then National University of Rwanda now University of Rwanda for what the university called ‘making the university ungovernable’.

He was later dismissed from the university.