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Rwanda: Rebel Leader Sankara Tells Court His Group Was Facilitated by Zambian President to Launch Attacks in Rwanda

Maj Calliixte Nsabimana Sankara has Monday told Rwanda’s High Court for International and cross-border crimes that his group, National Liberation Force(FLN), received US dollars 150,000 from Zambian President Edgar Lungu to launch attacks in Rwanda.

Maj Sankara, who faces 17 charges including terrorism and murder, was appearing before court for hearing a case in which some of the victims of the rebel groups attack were seeking compensation for the suffering inflicted on them by the attacks.

Before the case commenced, Maj Sakara reportedly requested to be allowed to tell court about a funding his group got form one of the Presidents of country he didn’t want to mention.

The presiding judge granted him the opportunity and asked him to name the country and the president since so that those seeking compensation also get to know.

He said towards the end of 2017, Zambian President Edgar Lungu agreed to support opposition politician and leader of MRCD the political wing of FLN Paul Rusesabagina to topple President Kagame and immediately offered $ 150,000 for the cause.

President Lungu was in Rwanda for two-day state visit in February 2018.

“Early 2019 before I was arrested One Nsengiyumva Appolinaire a leader of PDR one the many political parties that form MRCD traveled to Zambia to meet Lungu to discuss how he would offer them more support,” Maj Sankara told court.

He emphasized that it was the money given to them by Lungu that was used to launch the initial attacks in Rwanda noting that they couldn’t have started the war without Lungu’s support.

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Nsabimana’s claims could stoke diplomatic tensions between Rwanda and Zambia. He did not provide evidence to back up his claims.

The timing of the revelations has raised eyebrows considering that Nsabimana previously told court that Ugandan army officers including Chief of Military Intelligence, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho supported his rebel movement, another claim he didn’t substantiate.

Zambia is home to hundreds of wealthy Hutu refugees, many of whom are opposed to the reign of President Paul Kagame.

Most of these refugees left Rwanda when Kagame took power in 1994. Lungu previously served as Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister.

During the M23 conflict in eastern DRC, Lungu supported regional efforts including formation of a joint force to fight the M23 rebels who were linked to Rwanda.

Zambia shares an estimated 1,900 kilometer border with DRC where Hutu militants seeking to topple Kagame are based.

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