Five soldiers remanded over assault charges

The five soldiers and one of their civilian accomplices before court on Monday, May 11. / Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva.

The military tribunal on Wednesday ordered a 30-day remand for five Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers and one local security officer charged with assaulting citizens.

The soldiers – who are all at the rank of private – are accused of committing several acts of aggression against citizens of Kangondo 2 village, Nyarutarama cell in Remera sector, Gasabo District in the month of March this year.

 

During their arraignment on May 11, military prosecution charged two of the soldiers; Fidele Nishimwe and Patrick Ndayishimiye with rape, robbery, creating and being part of a criminal group, beating and injuring people, trespass, as well as abandoning their patrol stations and not respecting its regulations.

 

The other three; Francois Gatete, John Gahirwa, and Theoneste Twagirimana; along with two local security officers; Donat Ntakaziraho and Diane Mukamulisa were charged with being accessories to crimes committed by the duo; being part of a criminal group, trespassing, abandoning their patrol stations, and complicity to robbery.

 

According to prosecution, the three soldiers offered protection for Nishimwe and Ndayishimiye while they raped women, while Ntakaziraho and Mukamulisa guided them on which people to assault from the community. They pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Captain Jean Bosco Imaniraguha said that on different dates in March, the soldiers were deployed on night patrol in specific parts of Gasabo district, but they left their stations and went to Kangondo 2 where they perpetrated the crimes they are charged with.

Reading the bail ruling May 13, the presiding judge flanked with two other judges remanded all the 6, saying there was reasonable ground to believe they committed a number of crimes against residents of Kangondo 2, an area commonly known as Bannyahe.

The judge, however, absolved all the accused of the crime of creating or being part of a criminal group saying there is no evidence that shows that such a group existed, since they always randomly met at work stations having been deployed by their leaders.

The soldiers allegedly committed the crimes during night patrol.

The judge said there are strong reasons to believe Ndayishimiye and Nishimwe committed rape, robbery, beating and injuring people, as well as abandoning patrol and not following its rules.

He based on the testimonies presented by the prosecution.

Among these, he cited prosecution’s claim that Private Ndayishimiye admitted to the crimes during preliminary interrogations with investigators.

During the same interrogation, Ndayishimye had also accused his counterpart Nishimwe for raping women.

The judge also cited Ntakaziraho’s testimony where he said he saw Ndayishimiye beating people, as well as medical reports that confirmed that really the victims were beaten and injured.

For Gatete, Gahirwa, Twagirimana the judge said there were strong reasons for them to be suspected of abandoning patrol and not following its guidelines, as well as not reporting malicious crime.

“In an earlier statement made by Private Ndayishimiye during interrogations, he admitted that all of these soldiers worked together in Kangondo 2 village,” the judge said.

“Court has found reason for suspecting them of crimes including abandoning patrol and not following its rules, and not reporting serious crimes,” he added.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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