Survivors of FLN attacks recall atrocities

Remains of a burned car that belonged to Vincent Nsengiyumva, former Executive Secretary of Nyabimata Sector. Photos: Olivier Mugwiza.

In December 2018, Fabrice Rugamba, who was then 20 years old, was in a bus from his campus in Kigali, heading home in Rusizi District, Western Province.

Little did he know that the bus he was in would arrive in the middle of Nyungwe Forest and fall in a well-planned trap of armed terrorists that ended up killing many, leaving others injured and looting their properties.


“Many including a colleague of mine who was seated by my side died on spot. The gunshots also injured several people. The terrorists thereafter looted properties including my laptop, telephone, clothes and identification documents among others,” he said.


He added: “These attacks caused me trauma in the days that followed the incident.”


Reports show that, by then, terrorists ambushed three passenger service vehicles inside Nyungwe forest.

National Liberation Front (FLN) rebels have been accused of being behind these attacks.

On this note, last year, the former spokesperson of the terror group, Callixte Nsabimana, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, claiming that he ordered attacks on public installations and security organs.

However, he noted that he did not order attacks on civilians.

Desire Ngirabyeyi, 32, who was driving one of the public buses that were ambushed by armed terrorists says that he still carries the wounds of the attack.

“The bus I was driving was shot at many times and the attackers also launched a rocket on it, causing injuries although luckily none of the 26 people I was driving died. Personally, I still have a bullet fragment in my foot and this affects me because I have to continue driving in that condition to get a living.”

In 2018, FLN also allegedly attacked the southern part of the country in Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe districts.

Ntirandekura Ntakirende, one of the victims, shows scars of gunshot injuries he sustained during the attacks

All these three attacks led to the death and injury of dozens of innocent civilians.

Justice for victims

Kangabe Christine, 63, who lives in Nyabimata Sector, Nyaruguru District that was among the places attacked by FLN militias noted that the arrest of those linked to these violence acts is a relief.

“We were glad to know that some of the people linked to these attacks that brutally affected us were arrested. We want them to be held accountable,” she said.

Godrive Nyirahorana whose properties were looted when the rebels attacked her home in Nyabimata Sector also noted that she is optimistic that those who are still hiding will also be brought to justice.

The latest person to be arrested for allegedly being linked to these attacks is Paul Rusesabagina.

According to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Rusesabagina has been the subject of an International Arrest Warrant for multiple charges, including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder.

The crimes, according to RIB, were allegedly perpetrated against unarmed, innocent civilians on Rwandan territory in June and December 2018.

Those affected by these attacks who spoke to The New Times noted that they are “looking forward to seeing those behind the incidents being held accountable and pay back the properties that were looted and damaged.”

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