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Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalised in hotel Rwanda Movie admits launching armed groups behind deadly attacks

September 26, 2020

By MOHAMMED M. MUPENDA*

A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, right, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda”, before leading him out of the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.Photo credit loopcayman

Rwandan opponent, has admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rwandan Businessman, whose role during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis was fictionalized in the well-known movie Hotel Rwanda, has been the subject of controversy ever since.

While in exile, from humanitarian to a government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being tricked by Rwanda Spy network and boarded  into a private jet knowing that he is heading to neighbouring country,  Burundi.

In recent years Mr Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.

While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he told the prosecutor.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.”

Rusesabagina has been an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame for several years and is a member of the opposition Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change, which has an armed wing that engaged in a gunfight with government troops in 2018.

Kagame has often warned his critics that those who “betray” the country will be dealt with, and the country’s intelligence network has been accused by international human-rights groups of abducting and killing former allies in Rwanda and abroad. The Rwandan government has rejected the allegations.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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