The Kicukiro Primary Court in City of Kigali has remanded a group of Rwandan terror suspects pending further investigation into a case in which they are allegedly linked to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group based in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The group of 13, including one woman was arrested in a separate operation and paraded to the public in October this year on allegation that they were planning to attack several key spots and monuments in the city of Kigali.
The 13 members of the Islamist militant group joined the group, with an alleged plan to explode improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the Kigali City Tower (one of the tallest buildings in Kigali) and at a petrol station in Nyabugogo (a busy transport hub in Kigali linking the countryside and the great lakes region to the city).
Upon arrest, all the 13 were charged with conspiracy, incitement to commit a terrorism act, formation of or joining a criminal association, membership of a terrorist group, committing and participating in terrorist acts, illegal use of explosives or any noxious substance in a public place and demolishing buildings or means of transport for the purpose of terrorism.
How It All Started
The group, allegedly mobilized under the influence of one suspect- Saidi Nsengiyumva, the oldest of all, was arrested before they could carry out attacks, according to earlier police reports.
The basis of the mobilization, initiated by one suspect- Salim Bagire, according to a prosecution report was that the Rwandan group planned the attacks as Holy War (Jihad) in revenge against the government of Rwanda sending troops to Mozambique to fight the Islamic insurgents in Cabo Delgado region.
In June 2021, Rwanda deployed a contingent of 1,000 troops (Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, which had for years been affected by terrorism and insecurity manned by a group linked to the so called “Islamic State”.
The suspects are said to have been recruited in the name of performing the above mission, given instruction and were supposed to be trained in bomb making and set up by a Kenyan – identified as Omar, before engaging in the terror mission.
The group is also said to have recruited four children and 20 teenagers who were sent to DRC under the pretext of studying for free in Islamic school (Madras) in Sudan but were later recruited as young jihadists.
ADF Child Recruiters
One of the parents – Afissa Nikuze (the only women in the group) and Saidi Nsengiyumva are believed to have intentionally sent the children to join the force.
The two pleaded not guilty to this motive and stated that they wanted free education for their children; however, prosecution argued that the same education could be found in Islamic schools in Rwanda.
Nikuze pleaded she was aware about the recruitment of her children into the ADF and did not act upon it, a reason prosecution said that she intentionally concealed the key information thus being an accomplice.
Suspect Nsengiyumva also pleaded not guilty but prosecution showed evidence of neighbors who saw him communicate (on video calls) with the recruited children and said that since he didn’t inform authorities, he was contended with his mission as a ‘child recruiter’ for the ADF.
The suspect said that these testimonies were based on earlier personal grudges with neighbors but prosecution argued this out on ground that this was not related to putting children in danger.
During a provisional detention hearing in court today, the court found most of the suspects with motive to bomb the planned locations but they denied to the allegations in their plea bargain seeking a provisional release.
The judges read the charges levied against each of the suspects and found that only two of them (Mucyo Evrad Noel alias Abdulahman and Turufu Idrissa Singirankabo) were not specifically involved or with motive to conduct the planned attacks.
The court ordered for their immediate release.
The other 11 were handed 30 days in mandatory remand on grounds that their case was sensitive, evidence could be tampered with, and some could escape just as one- Farouk Sibomana.