Rwanda: Ex-FDLR officer admits terrorism charges and claims complicity with Victoire Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi
Kigali – The third ex-FDLR senior officer, Capt. Jean Marie Vianney Karuta, who prosecutor alleges had plans with Ms. Victoire Ingabire to create an armed rebellion against Rwandan government has appeared Thursday before the Gasabo Intermediate Court.
Capt. Karuta was separately charged Thursday, although he shares the charge sheet with Lt. Col. Tharcisse Nditurende and Lt. Col Noel Habiyaremye who appeared before court last week. All those ex-FDLR senior officers are being presented by the prosecution as crucial evidence against Victoire Ingabire.
Appearing before Judge Morris Mbishibishi, Capt. Karuta said he abandoned the FDLR forces last year– surrendered with wife and children to UN demobilization officials. He was handed to Rwanda authorities in October and was sent straight to the demobilization centre in Mutobo – Northern Rwanda.
He spent two months going through the demobilization curriculum along with some 361 other combatants. On December 22 last year, Capt. Karuta and others completed their training, were given a financial and material package and went home in Cyangugu – Western Rwanda.
It is not clear how he ended up in the hands of government prosecutors to be tried and paraded as an accomplice to Ms Victoire Ingabire, Chairperson of the United Democratic Forces Inkingi (UDF-Inkingi).
Karuta was yesterday being addressed to as Captain NOT Lieutenant as previously indicated by the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga in media interviews.
Prosecution claims Capt. Karuta met FDU-Inkingi officials Victoire Ingabire and Jean Baptiste Mberabahizi (exiled in Belgium) in Kinshasa in 2008. Apparently, the two FDU-Inkingi officials asked the FDLR officer to formulate a detailed list of all the needs which would lead to the formation of a new rebel group named by the prosecution as FDU-Inkingi/CDF.
Karuta had allegedly been sent to meet Ingabire and her colleague by Lt. Col. Tharcisse Nditurende who would eventually head this rebel force. These details were also presented on the charges of Nditurende and Habiyaremye last week. Court also heard that plans of that new rebel force which would be an alternative to the FDLR were in advanced stages.
After hearing his charge sheet, Capt. Karuta admitted to all the charges. The defense lawyer however said Capt. Karuta deserves bail due to his specific circumstances, but prosecutor Richard Muhumuza dismissed it arguing that the ex-rebel officer could flee back to the Congo forests.
The defense wondered how prosecution could claim their client can go back to eastern DR Congo when he decided to return to Rwanda with his family as a matter of choice.
Capt. Karuta said he handed himself willingly to demobilization officials from DR Congo forests, that he has a home in Nyamasheke (Cyangugu, Western Province) and did not intend to leave what he called “my country” again.
Presiding Judge Mbishibishi ruled that court will decide on the bail application on Monday next week.
The accused was immediately driven away by security operatives to unknown destination.