Eight men and one woman suspected of forming an irregular armed group were yesterday arraigned before Nyarugenge Intermediate Court in Nyamirambo where two of them admitted they were arrested en route to join an armed group in DR Congo.
The accused were arrested early this month as part of investigations into formation of an irregular armed group, an offence against the established government or the President of the Republic.
They are Papias Ndayishimiye, Janvier Twagirayezu, Gratien Nsabiyaremye, Evode Mbarushimana, Leonille Gasengayire, Norbert Ufitamahoro, Boniface Twagirimana, Fabien Twagirayezu and Erneste Nkiko.
Five of the accused have Antoinette Mukamusoni and Gatera Gashabana as their lawyers, but the rest say they have not yet obtained lawyers.
Before the hearing could begin, the defendants, who say they are members of FDU-Inkingi, an unregistered political party, told the court that their detention was illegal and prayed for release.
Among the suspects is Boniface Twagirimana, the alleged vice-president of the party, who denied the charges against him and said he was illegally detained because Police did not show him the arrest and search warrant by the time of the arrest on September 6.
However, prosecution said the warrant was not needed before the arrest because four of the accused were arrested on their way to joining an armed group.
The prosecutors added that the search at the suspects’ homes was conducted by Police in the presence of local authorities.
Prosecution told the court that they have in possession conclusive evidence linking most of the accused with elements in an outfit calling itself P5, an alliance of armed groups operating from DR Congo.
They added that they have full names and evidence of five people who crossed the border to the Congo and remained in touch with most of the suspects.
Prosecution played some of the recorded conversations provided by a local telecom firm and presented WhatsApp messages exchanged in military codes.
Although he couldn’t agree with the charges against him, Papias Ndayishimiye admitted that he was arrested in Rusizi District while heading to DR Congo to join the said armed group with maps indicating the place he would meet other fighters.
He was with Norbert Ufitamahoro.
Prosecution also said it has reason to believe that Janvier Twagirayezu is an accomplice or might be directly involved in the case though investigations revealed that he had refused to join the armed group, but he was pinned for having not alerted the authorities on the ongoing criminal activity.
The hearing continues today.