By New Times
Thirty-seven people including suspected assailants who attacked villages in Musanze District in October 2019, killing over a dozen people, Monday appeared before the Military High Court for the substantive trial.
Among charges they face include creating an irregular armed group, terrorism, murder, conspiring with a foreign government to overthrow an elected government, among other charges.
The group is part of RUD-Urunana and P5, both militia outfits that jointly operate from the Democratic Republic of Congo aiming to destabilise Rwanda and overthrow its elected leadership.
All the suspects were present in court, except one ‘Sergeant’ Emmanuel Ngirinshuti, who is still at large.
In a brief hearing that was presided over by Lt Col Bernard Rugamba Hategekimana, court decided to adjourn the hearing following an objection by one of the accused who said he was not able to follow the preliminary proceedings at the lower court when it was decided to remand them.
The accused claimed he was sick during the preliminary trial at the Military Tribunal, said he was nursing injuries on his leg.
Following this objection, Hategekimana ruled to adjourn the hearing to May 4, to allow for more time to deal with this and any other arising procedural issues.
He added that ample time was also necessary to allow for the mandatory 30 days for the accused at large (Ngirinshuti) to answer to court summons and only after this period has elapsed can he be tried in absentia.
According to military prosecution, some of the defendants were captured during the attack in Musanze while others were captured by MONUSCO and FARDC in DR Congo during subsequent military operations against armed groups operating in the country.
Congolese authorities later sent them to Rwanda.
About Musanze attacks
The attack was launched on different villages in Musanze District during the night of October 5 2019 where eight people were immediately confirmed dead.
The death toll later increased to 14 while at least 18 people were left injured in the attack by RUD-Urunana, a group that is linked to P5 militia, which was formed by Rwandan dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa.
Following the attack, many of the assailants were captured in a subsequent offensive by Rwanda Defence Force, while few of them fled into Uganda, where they were reportedly received on the Ugandan side by the country’s military.
Besides killing or injuring residents, the assailants looted their property, including shops that were ransacked and merchandise including foodstuff taken.