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Talks held to clear Kigali-Lusaka row

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Following an escalating row over claims of subversive activities in Rwanda blamed on Zambia, President Paul Kagame has held talks with a senior official from Lusaka, diplomatic sources told APA on Saturday.Kagame’s talks with Zambian Foreign minister Joe Malangji come a week after Rwanda’s terror suspect Callixte Nsabimana alias Major Sankara told a judge that President  Edgar Lungu helped rebels attack Rwanda.

The talks were centred around allegations that Lusaka provided financial assistance to a Rwandan rebel group poised to launch subversive activities inside Rwanda.

The top Zambian diplomat who was in Kigali for a two-day working visit which began on Thursday said the allegations in the local and international media of the alleged submission made to Rwanda’s High Court for International and Cross-border Crimes must be treated with the contempt they deserve.

According  to him, the two countries continue to enjoy strong and fraternal relations founded on mutual respect and a common purpose based on shared values and principles.

Major Sankara who claimed to be the head of  Rwanda rebel National Liberation Force (NLF) told judges at the International and Cross-Border Crimes in Nyanza, a district in southern Rwanda last Monday, that President Lungu, helped them attack Rwandan territory.

NLF is the military wing of the opposition Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, led by dissident Paul Rusesabagina, known for protecting people during the 1994 genocide while he was manager of Hotel des Mille Collines.

The trial was conducted digitally due to COVID-19 measures where all the parties made submissions through a live video link. T

here were glitches from the start of the trial which were resolved before the hearing could proceed.

The defendant is facing several charges including the formation of an irregular armed group, complicity in committing terrorist acts, conspiracy and incitement to commit terrorist acts, taking persons hostage, murder, and looting.

Nsabimana was the spokesperson of a rebel outfit calling itself the National Liberation Front (FLN, French acronym), which was accused of raiding villages in southern Rwanda, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

The former rebel leader who promoted himself to the rank of Major, according to the prosecution  began his journey when he was expelled from a government university in Rwanda, then resurfaced in South Africa as a member of the group led by former RDFchief Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa in 2012.

He also spent time in the Indian Ocean island of Comoros.

Before his extradition  to Rwanda, Sankara was found with a Lesotho passport under the names Kabera Joseph, but born in Masisi, DR Congo. 

It was acquired in 2013 with Sankara allegedly paying 5,000 South African Rands ($ 300) for it. 

The prosecution claims that the passport is fake.

Published on 28.04.2020

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