Guilty plea by Rwanda rebel official

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Rebel official Callixte Nsabimana pleaded guilty in a Rwandan court to charges of terrorism, murder and hostage taking as part of a violent campaign to oust President Paul Kagame.

Nsabimana, known by the alias Sankara, is spokesman for the Forces for National Liberation (FLN), which carried out deadly attacks in Rwanda in recent years, including on villages and buses.

FLN is the military arm of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) political party opposing Kagame.

A total of 16 charges were read out by the prosecution. They included formation of an irregular armed group, committing terrorist acts and spreading false information.

“I plead guilty to all charges and ask forgiveness from people affected by the attacks and also from the president of Rwanda,” Nsabimana said in court in Kigali.

Last December the FLN claimed responsibility for an attack on passenger buses in the Nyungwe Forest National Park, close to the Burundi border. Two people were killed and eight wounded. In March, it claimed control of large parts of the forest.

Kagame and his government face resistance from an array of dissident groups, armed and unarmed, who see him as an autocratic leader unwilling to relinquish power after 19 years as president.