Panafrican News Agency

Rwandan dailies highlight repatriation of 'Hotel Rwanda' hero nto face terrorism charges

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - The repatriation  this week of a self-proclaimed 'hero’ of the famous movie 'Hotel Rwanda', was highlighted by the Rwandan media this week.

Paul Rusesabagina, former director of the Hotel des Mille Collines was transferred from Dubai to Kigali under an international arrest warrantissued by Rwandan judiciary over terrorism-related charges.

The media also reflected on some motives behind this deportation including six charges related to terrorism and contravening Rwandan laws under which  Rusesabagina was also wanted by the justice system for murder, armed robbery, incitement to insurrection and arson.

Under the headline "Rusesabagina’s arrest: Who is the suspected mastermind of terror attacks on Rwandans?", The New Times wrote that Justice Minister and Attorney Genera, Johnston Busingye indicated that the arrest was a clear message that whoever kills or makes terror on Rwanda will be apprehended. 

“Those suspected of killing and wreaking terror on Rwandans, those suspected of masterminding, sponsoring or financing terror against Rwandans, will be brought to justice,” Busingye said.

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.

However, The New Times described him as fictional hero since some testimonies later emerged questioning the credibility of the story, with witnesses describing it as fiction and the wrong narrative of the events that occurred between April and June 1994.

During an interview with the newspaper,  genocide survivor and former senator Odette Nyiramilimo, who was a friend of Rusesabaginas and was among those sheltering at the hotel during the genocide, recalled a man who close friends thought was a “good guy” only to realise later that he had ulterior motives.

Similar reports indicate that after fleeing Rwanda in 2004, Rusesabagina formed an ungazetted political party known as the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRDC) with the purpose of ousting a democratically elected government in Rwanda.

Notably, his political party has an armed wing known as the National Liberation Front (FLN) – both members of the so-called P5 coalition, a terrorist organization that operates from Democratic Republic of Congo.

In another article, the KT Press reported that from his U.S. base, Rusesabagina, the protagonist in the controversial movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’, took responsibility of the attacks and casually admitted in different interviews recorded on video that his outfit was behind the violent attacks that claimed lives of dozens and maimed others.

The newspaper recalled that Rusesabagina went on to plead his “unreserved support to our youth” under the National Liberation Forces, who had launched an armed struggle against the ‘Kagame army’ in order to free the Rwandan people -in his own words.

During his intervention after the launch of a rebel group known as National Liberation Forces (NLF), an armed terrorist organisation created by the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), a coalition of political parties founded by Rusesabagina, he proclaimed: “As Rwandans, we need to understand that this is the only way to bring about change in the whole country. For this fact, I call upon Rwandans, all political and civil society organisations to support these young women and young men who took the lead in this struggle and to mobilize."

KT Press recalled that just a couple of months after making the declarations, NLF’s spokesperson Nsabimana was arrested and repatriated to Rwanda at the end of April, where he would face at least 16 charges which included terrorism and treason. His trial is ongoing.

In July 2018, armed attackers raided Nyabimata Sector, Nyaruguru District in the Southern Province killing two and injuring three.

The rebels under command of Rusesabagina had launched another attack on June 10, 2018, in Mukunge Cell of Ngera Sector in the same district, injuring and robbing people in a small business centre in the same vicinity, the newspaper said.

Portraying him as a 'notorious fugitive', Taarifa, another privately-owned newspaper wrote that Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan wanted for a score of serious crimes has been finally arrested.

Rwanda Investigation Bureau presented the high profile catch before the media in the capital Kigali. He arrived at the press venue aboard a detainee van. He disembarked from the van but in handcuffs clad in a clean suit and face masked.

Taarifa wrote that Rwanda is currently holding and trying dozens of FLN members for war crimes and other violations committed on Rwandan territory including murder. Callixte Nsabimana one of the FLN leaders is under trial in Rwanda.

Rusesabagina will be very vital in the ongoing trial against FLN members, according to the newspaper.

-0- PANA TWA/AR 5Sept2020