Treason charges brought in Rwanda


Rwandan prosecutors charged 25 men with treason and other crimes related to alleged activities in a rebel group founded by a South African-based dissident.

The men appeared in a military court in Kigali for the first time since they were repatriated in June from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they were captured.

Suspects included Habibu Mudathiru a former Rwandan soldier who prosecutors say was in charge of operations and training in Congo for the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), a rebel group founded by Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Nyamwasa, a former ally of President Paul Kagame, is now a Rwandese dissident in South Africa.

In court, Mudathiru had an injured and bandaged right leg and used crutches with support from army officers. He sat through the session and had a pillow to lay his leg on.

Prosecution said some suspects were Burundians and others were Ugandans.

None of all suspects had a lawyer and they are expected to return to court on to make a plea.

“I did not have enough time to get a lawyer,” Muthatiru told the court.

Rwanda previously accused Uganda and Burundi of working with Kayumba’s RNC in a bid to remove Kagame. Relations between Rwanda and its neighbours are strained.

The prosecution said the suspects received transport and ammunition support from Uganda and Burundi.

Groups opposed to Rwanda have over the years found sanctuary in DRC’s eastern jungles, including the FDLR, composed of former Rwandan soldiers and Hutu militia who fled after the 1994 genocide.

Congo’s military said last month it killed FDLT leader Sylvestre Mudacumura.