Kagame blames neighbours as two are killed in attack

Sunday December 16 2018

President Paul Kagame presiding over the Rwanda

President Paul Kagame presiding over the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) drill dubbed “Exercise Hard Punch III” at Gabiro Combat Training Centre in the Eastern Province on December 11, 2018. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

EDMUND KAGIRE
By EDMUND KAGIRE
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The Rwandan military says two people were killed after unknown raiders struck a district in it’s southern province bordering Burundi on Saturday evening

A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence said the attackers in Cyitabi Sector of Nyamagabe District also set on fire three passenger service vehicles and injured eight other people.

“The injured have been taken to Kigeme Hospital for treatment,” the statement added.

The Military spokesman, Lt Col Innocent Munyengango, said the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) was pursuing the attackers who fled into Nyungwe Forest, which borders Burundi.

UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS

“We have been watching the situation in this area for some time now and have a good idea of who is behind today’s incident. We are in pursuit of the attackers and action will be taken against those responsible,” Lt Col Munyengango said, reassuring the public that the road was now safe for all traffic.

A similar attack in Nyabimata Sector in the same district last June claimed two people and injured several others, while a vehicle belonging to a local leader was torched and shops robbed by unknown assailants.

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) said the attackers fled to Burundi through the thick Nyungwe Forest, gazetted as a national park.

The little-known National Liberation Front (NLF), composed of Rwandan exiles, claimed responsibility for the attacks at the time.

Neighbouring countries

RDF said at the time that the attackers had been repulsed back to Burundi and the border area secured.

On Friday, while addressing a press conference, President Paul Kagame said that Kigali was aware that some neighbouring countries were supporting several groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Rwanda National Congress (RNC), to destabilise Rwanda.

President Kagame vowed to deal with those groups, but pointed out that Rwanda would not be provoked into crossing borders like it has done before, to deal with insurgents.

“FDLR is working with RNC and some of our neighbours. There are many other groups with different names. We will take care of that, the names and everything else,” President Kagame said.

Kigali has formally communicated to Uganda protesting the presence of groups it says were keen on destabilising Rwanda, and also maintains that Bujumbura backs FDLR and other elements.

SKIRMISHES

President Kagame also revealed that last week’s attack by suspected FDLR elements on the western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claimed at least three RDF soldiers despite the military earlier saying that there were no casualties.

The attack, which happened in Busasamana Sector, Rubavu District, saw four of the assailants killed in the skirmishes.

President Kagame said Rwanda was consulting with the DRC government on the matter.

Busasamana Sector, which lies on the mountainous north western region, has witnessed several attacks in recent years, which Rwanda blames on FDLR, which operates in the conflict-ridden eastern part of DRC.

Though weakened in recent years by several operations and hundreds of former fighters handing themselves in, FDLR, whose senior members actively participated in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, remains active in eastern DRC where it has been based for the last 24 years.