L-R: Paul Rusesabagina, Callixte Nsabimana, and Wilson Irategaka.
“I call upon Rwandans, all political and civil society organisations, to support these young women and men who took a lead in this struggle, and to mobilize all people to join the NLF (FLN).”
These are some of the remarks made by Paul Rusesabagina at the end of 2018, in what he described as conveying his organisation’s (MRCD) message to the world.
“I pledge my unreserved support,” he added.
The 66-year-old’s remarks came shortly after his organisation launched terror attacks that mainly hit the south-western part of the country between 2018 and 2019. Nine innocent civilians lost their lives, leaving even more with life-threatening injuries, and an estimated loss valued at Rwf69 million.
As fate would have it, at least for majority of the survivors from the attacks, Rusesabagina was arrested and charged with various offenses including terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder among others.
Rusesabagina, alongside the 20 co-accused, most notably Callixte Nsabimana AKA Sankara former spokesperson of the FLN as well as his successor Herman Nsengimana are waiting for the court verdict that is scheduled for Monday, September 20, 2021.
Formation of MRCD
The so-called Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) is a tripartite formed by three outfits; PDR-Ihumure (headed by Rusesabagina), CNRD (‘Gen’ Wilson Irategeka) and RRM (led by Sankara).
The group’s militia men had started what they called political parties operating outside Rwanda with some having military wings with combat experience from ALIR to FDLR.
Researchers say that the formation of MRCD-FLN was to join hands in a bid to achieve their goal of attacking Rwanda and overthrowing the government.
“This is an occasion to take a retrospective look and evaluate our achievements, and decide on the next course of action, in order to speed up the process towards achieving our goals,” Rusesabagina said in a speech published on the the YouTube channel belonging to MRCD. Interestingly, this speech was removed from the channel three weeks after Rusesabagina’s arrest.
According to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Rusesabagina had been the subject of an international arrest warrant for some time.
His arrest warrant, according to prosecution, was issued in March 2019.
Bankroller of the terror outfit
As far back as 2011, there is money trail that links Rusesabagine to the terror groups.
He has personally published videos, praising different donors and supporters to his cause.
In one of the videos, he is seen saying that among other realisations, MRCD had strengthened its structures around the world, and that they had established friendships and secured support, while creating ties and collaborations with other organisations that have similar agenda.
During the hearing that took place on March 31, it emerged that Rusesabagina himself, during interrogations, admitted sending a total of $20,000 to FLN, adding that, there were also other sums of money that would be collected through fundraisings organized by MRCD and contributions by members of the coalition.
Beyond Rusesabagina’s own admissions, prosecution said they acquired evidence attesting to that.
The court was also informed that some of the money would be transferred to FLN through one Eric Munyemana, the treasurer of MRCD, who would then send it to ‘General’ Irategeka.
Munyemana admitted sending the money, according to Belgian Police.
In addition, Nsabimana disclosed that, his-co accused, Rusesabagina, personally sent over $190,000 to FLN commanders to carry out several activities of the rebel group.
International community hoodwinked
Rusesabagina set up the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation ostensibly to help genocide survivors, but sources say that he used it to collect money from well-wishers to fund terror activities against Rwanda.
American national Michelle Martin, an academic who once worked as a volunteer at Rusesabagina’s foundation, said that the funds ended up being used in subversive activities aimed at removing the Rwandan government.
“Within a few months of working with the foundation, both my student intern and I had come to believe, based on our observation, that the foundation did not operate as a humanitarian organisation,” said Martin, who is also an associate professor at California State University.
She highlighted that after discovering that she was working with people involved in illegal activities, she handed all evidence (screenshots, text messages, emails, and others) to the US Law Enforcement and collaborated during their investigations between February and September 2012.
Source New Times.