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Sydney-based Rwandan Noel Zihabamwe has his false stories run by Australian broadcaster

Australian broadcaster ABC news has, on its website, published claims of one Noel Zihabamwe – a Rwandan national that arrived in the country in 2000 and later found asylum there – that “he believes his two brothers in Rwanda have been murdered.” 

In the article published last Sunday, ABC news first writes that “members of Australia’s Rwandan community fear relatives are being murdered in their former homeland ‘as the regime moves to intimidate and silence international critics’”, before proceeding to air Zihabwamwe’s wild allegations. 

 

If ABC cared for the truth it would find out that Rwanda is not a place of extra-judicial crimes, of any kind. The first thing the ABC journalists would discover is that in Rwanda even a terrorist suspect captured after killing people will be detained according to the law, and have their day in court. 

 

Begin with suspects of the FLN group. Currently 19 of them are undergoing trial in Rwanda following arrest for a couple of attacks in 2018. 

 

From their former commander Callixte Nsabimana, to foot soldiers that participated in the attacks in the districts of Nyabimata and Nyaruguru that killed up to nine people, injured a number of others, followed by burning of vehicles and looting property – all are undergoing trial. As is their overall boss Paul Rusesabagina, arrested recently in August. 

High profile suspects of the FDLR terrorist group have been apprehended, and had their day in court. Similarly, RNC fighters that were repatriated to Rwanda, following capture from their bases in eastern DRC, are having fair trials.

Why then, according to ABC, would Rwanda “kill relatives” of Rwandans that live in Australia? It doesn’t add up because it is not true.

The things ABC has published with Zihabamwe as their source fit more into propaganda narratives usually disseminated by groups or individuals with political agendas against the Rwandan administration. These circles are mostly based overseas. 

They include fugitives from justice for atrocities committed during the 94 Genocide against the Tutsi; or those of their offspring that deliberately imbibe their ideology of genocide; as well as others with ambitions for power who feel that terrorism or violent conflict against Rwanda is the way to achieve their goals. 

Noel Zihabamwe falls into the latter category. 

He in fact is not a refugee as he claims to be. He left Kigali in 2000 as the beneficiary of a Rwanda Government scholarship to attend university in Australia. 

According to records, he went on his birth names, Noelle Yandamutso. But when the duration of his university course was over and he was supposed to return, he did not.

For his own reasons he then changed his names to Noel Zihabamwe. That is when he began his activities as a supporter, fundraiser and propagandist for anti-Rwanda terrorist groups like RNC and other armed groups.

From Australia he has been working hard to encourage insurrection against the government in Rwanda. 

Now, he claims that “two of his brothers were abducted” but gives only the flimsy reason that “it’s because he declined to work as an agent of influence for the Rwandan Government.”

The truth is that those brothers of his most probably have listened to him and joined insurrectionist groups. 

Our investigations reveal that Zihabamwe has many relatives in Rwanda: in Kigali, Huye and elsewhere who have no issues with their safety. 

One of them is a first cousin of his, Jean Pierre Nkurikiyinka, resident of Muhanga and a bank employee. He leads the life of any ordinary, law-abiding, Rwandan. 

An aunt of Zihabamwe, a lady called Antonia Nyirabega, lives undisturbed in Kimironko. All her seven offspring live normal, productive lives, unbothered by anyone. 

One of his cousins is a civil servant residing in Kanombe. Zihabamwe has many relatives earning a living in Rwanda. 

The fact is that Zihabamwe is only using his allegedly disappeared brothers as propaganda props to push his political purposes. 

It is a provable falsehood for anyone to claim that Zihabamwe’s relatives, or the relatives of anyone else “are being killed” because of a supposed vendetta by the Rwandan government against anyone living in Australia or anywhere else. 

Inquiries also reveal that Zihabamwe long ago, in Australia, adopted the mantle of “human rights activist” as a cover for his real purposes as a supporter and propagandist of groups dedicated to destabilizing Rwanda. 

However, the human rights activist cover has been very useful for another purpose: to raise funds from Australian groups or individuals, then sending those funds to the RNC and other armed groups for whatever nefarious purposes they use them. 

But if Zihabamwe thinks he will gain anything he is barking up the wrong tree.  

If he decided to become a negativist, why try to mislead others, or his brothers wherever they have gone to?, those that know him ask. 

Zihabamwe is confusing people in Australia, always raising money to send to terrorist groups, but he isn’t alone in such activities. He surely has seen others from Belgium, USA, Canada and elsewhere do the same for years.

However, many more in the thousands of their countrymen and women in the Diaspora are doing much better sending remittances home, supporting their loved ones, and contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

BNR figures show that by March this year alone (latest figures), remittance inflows stood at US$ 18.9 million – and these figures will be much higher once the world recovers from the Coronavirus hiccup.

Such figures should be ample demonstration how misguided the likes of Zihabamwe are – Rwandans are far more interested in construction than destruction.  

These funds to relatives back home to use for positive purposes unlike Zihabamwe and a few of his colleagues who waste all the money they raised and all the support they gave anti-Rwanda terrorism; what have they achieved? Completely nothing. 

All the people that raised funds for, disseminated propaganda, and recruited for Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC for the years it has been in existence, what have they achieved?

Nothing. Instead they were smoked out of the DRC, annihilated in battle, and several of their fighters captured alive and repatriated to face trial. 

All the individuals and groups that worked from the days of the insurrectionist ALIR in the jungles of DRC, down the years to when they birthed Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza’s FDU Inkingi, what did they achieve? Zero. They are just floundering around in defeat. 

What did some in neighboring countries gain by propping up all these groups: RNC, FDLR, RUD-Urunana, despite all the investment they’ve poured in? Zero!

Zihabamwe will ultimately fail like all of them.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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