Rwanda dismisses rebel incursion claims


Rwandan police denied a militant group it says aims to topple President Paul Kagame was behind attacks on the country’s southern border with Burundi.

In June, unidentified assailants attacked and killed two people in the southern area Nyabimata, where authorities said two similar attacks took place in July.

Callixte Nsabimana Sankara, spokesman for a new political party calling itself Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), said in South Africa it started an armed struggle to oust long-serving Kagame.

Sankara is an ex-member of exiled opposition group Rwanda National Congress, founded by former Kagame aides who fell out with him.

The MRCD said its military wing was fighting the Rwandan army in Nyungwe forest for a month and claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Rwandan authorities including the local government minister and chief of police visited the area where the attack took place.

Police said the violence was caused by intruders.
“We don’t have any security problem in Rwanda. That there is someone from nowhere claiming he was part of the violence in Nyabimata is fine for us in terms of justice,” police spokesman Theos Badege said.

Badege said two other small attacks were carried out in July but “didn’t affect national security.”
“We have security. They attacked and looted animals and food but as Sankara claimed responsibility he is going to be part of investigation.”

Reuters was not independently able to verify Sankara’s claim and calls to the army spokesman went unanswered.

Badege declined to comment on whether a military operation was under way around Nyungwe Forest.

Residents told Reuters the army has beefed up security in the area.
“There are many soldiers and heavy weaponry including tanks along the buffer strip of Nyungwe forest and local security people increased patrols. People are scared,” said a Kivu resident, adding unknown gunmen attacked the area on Friday.

Authorities asked people to remain calm and help security forces identify wrongdoers, the resident said.