Kagame: Rusesabagina was not kidnapped
President Paul Kagame has refuted claims that Paul Rusesabagina, the alleged founder of an outfit linked to terror attacks that killed Rwandans, was “kidnapped” as different international media organisations have been claiming.
Rusesabagina was arrested by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, which paraded him before the media on Monday, August 31, saying the arrest was the result of an international warrant.
He faces several counts, including terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder, according to Dr Thierry Murangira, acting RIB Spokesperson.
Different media organisations and some activists have been trying to sanitise and present Rusesabagina as a victim with many claiming that he was kidnapped, the same version his daughter has been promoting.
“There was no kidnap in the process of bringing Rusesabagina here. It was actually flawless,” Kagame said in an interview with Rwanda Television, the national broadcaster. “I wish the media did some research and used facts.”
Rusesabagina is suspected of leading and financing the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) and the National Liberation Force (FLN), MRCD’s military wing, all of which are alleged terrorist groups operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
‘Leader of terrorists’
Kagame emphasized that Rusesabagina heads a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans.
“He will have to pay for all this suffering he’s caused Rwandans. He has blood of Rwandans on his hands,” he said. “There are victims of his deeds in the South West of Rwanda. These Rwandans know his acts of terror.”
The Head of State highlighted that Rusesabagina himself has recordings of him bragging about his attacks against Rwanda.
“They may claim to have good intentions, like thinking that Rwanda is not a good country so they want to change it. But the process through which they do that, and leave many lives at stake is where the problem is,” he noted.
Rusesabagina became famous after the blockbuster Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda was released, in 2004.
In the movie, Rusesabagina is portrayed as a hero who risked his own life to protect the Tutsi who were cornered in Hôtel des Mille Collines, which he managed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
But different accounts of survivors from the same hotel have disputed this.
“If you asked Rwandans who survived in that hotel, they will tell you a different story of what Rusesabagina says. The UN that was here also gives a different story from what he says,” Kagame said of the depiction of Rusesabagina as a hero.
People like former senator Odette Nyiramilimo, who was a friend of the Rusesabagina’s and was among those who stayed at the hotel during the Genocide, recalled a man whom close friends thought was a “good guy” only to realise later that he had ulterior motives.
“He was a personal friend whom I first got to know in 1992 because I was working with his wife, a pharmacist, at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK),” she recalls.
Nyiramilimo, a survivor, told The New Times that when the Belgians who owned Hôtel des Mille Collines left in 1994, Rusesabagina was given power to take control of the facility.
“Later, when the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) stopped the Genocide, we would see him with the likes of Seth Sendashonga, and he was now distancing himself from us,” she recounted.
Rusesabagina is currently being held at Remera Police detention on charges which include; launching terror attacks against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, including in Nyabimata, Nyaruguru District in June 2018 and in Nyungwe, Nyamagabe District in December 2018.