A Rwandan court filed terrorism-related charges against the spokesman for the FDLR rebel group on Monday, two months after his deportation from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
FDLR spokesperson, La Forge Fils Bazeye who was deported by the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda is led away by Rwandan security members after appearing on charges of terror related accusations in a court Kigali, Rwanda April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Clement Uwiringiyimana
The FDLR is composed of former Rwandan soldiers and ethnic Hutu militiamen who fled into lawless eastern Congo after the massacre of around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during Rwanda’s genocide in 1994.
Nkaka Ignace, who also goes by the alias La Forge Bazeye, and an FDLR co-defendant, Jean-Pierre Nsekanabo, were charged at their first appearance in a Kigali court with six offences including membership of a terrorist group, taking part in terrorist activities and inciting others to commit terrorism.
“I confess to some of the charges but deny others,” Ignace told Judge Justin Nshimiyimana, adding he had been influenced by superiors in FDLR, whom he did not name, into plotting to topple President Paul Kagame’s government.
“I apologise for having been given negative information about Rwanda,” Ignace told the court.
Prosecutors said the two had “played a direct role in attacks”, which they did not specify, carried out by FDLR both in Rwanda and Congo.
In December, two Rwandan soldiers and an unknown number of rebels were killed when a group of attackers crossed into Rwanda from Congo, Kagame told reporters at the time.
Prosecutors said Ignace and Nsekanabo, identified as an intelligence officer in FDLR, had travelled to neighbouring Uganda in January to meet representatives of another anti-Kigali rebel group, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC).
RNC is led by some of Rwanda’s most prominent dissidents including South Africa-based Kayumba Nyamwasa.
Rwanda has accused Uganda of supporting its dissidents. Early this year Rwanda closed its border with Uganda, disrupting regional trade and sparking tensions.
The two accused asked the court to free them on bail and a ruling on their application will be delivered on Wednesday.