By Mary Cyusa
It has been over a week after the Rwanda High Court, the Chamber of International Crimes in Nyanza District tried 13 terror suspects who are charged with conspiracy to cause insecurity, belonging to a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and Illegal use and handling explosives.
All the suspects would definitely be in a better position now hadn’t they met one Cassien Ntamuhanga who was well known for his religiosity, but later switched to terrorism. He recruited them into terrorism and their lives will never be the same ever since.
In November 2018, these youth were arrested for terror related charges. In their statement during their initial appearance in court in May this year they unanimously pointed the finger at Ntamuhanga. For instance, through one Phocas Ndayizera, he recruited an electronics expert named Eliakim Karangwa, who would manufacture a remote-control system that would ignite dynamite explosives to destroy key installations in Kigali including power plants and other high value targets.
Yet Ntamuhanga, who escaped from prison in 2017, is now firing against Rwanda from Mozambique, with the aim to overthrow the Kigali administration.
But the only bullets and missiles he fires are those coming from his mouth! All his comrades in terrorism plots, the “Sankaras”, the Rusesabaginas and others are behind bars. All terror plots have been rooted out.
But Ntamuhanga fires with his mouth as an official of something called Rwandan Alliance for National Pact (RANP-Abaryankuna). From this “party” he runs social media accounts from which he throws verbal missiles at Rwanda. “We are very organized! We shall overthrow Kigali!”
But even his Abaryankuna is just a façade behind which he works for Kayumba Nyamwasa’s Rwanda National Congress, with Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI, as the facilitator.
“He talks a big game but he doesn’t know the team he is up against,” laughed a commentator on Facebook.
This is an apt observation. If one asks what Ntamuhanga thinks he can do better than his friend Sankara, or LaForge Fils, Mushayidi, Rusesabagina and others, who in fact were throwing real grenades, one can’t see it.
But Ntamuhanga has always been an ambitious terrorist, and despite all his failures he still is an ambitious terrorist.
It was learnt in 2014 that he was working for RNC to set off explosives in vital infrastructure like RPF headquarters in Rusororo, fuel depots, and cargo trucks in Rusororo and Gatsata parking yards among others. The terrorist assault they planned included high profile assassinations.
Such are the plots of RNC that were thwarted, and Ntamuhanga and his accomplices arrested but of course he is out there getting attention from enemies of Rwanda that he is a “campaigner for democracy!” said an official that preferred to speak off the record.
Ntamuhanga, who is now a fugitive in Mozambique, was once an “earnest Christian” always in bible gatherings. Some think that probably was a cover for subversive activities.
Ntamuhanga hails from a humble background, having been born in 1982 in the Jali area. He completed his Secondary education at St. Alloys Rwamagana, and joined the then National University of Rwanda in the school of Journalism and Communication, but he dropped out before he finished his first year.
In 2005, he got a job as a schoolteacher in his neighbourhood, at Jali Primary School. In that same year, he became an English-Kinyarwanda translator at a Christian Radio Station, Amazing Grace, which was broadcasting from Kigali, and in 2009 was promoted to the Managing Director of the radio. It was while at Amazing Grace that he got lured into subversive groups.
In 2013 someone he calls an “old classmate”, and “a best friend” who had fled Rwanda to South Africa contacted him. This was none other than Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara and he introduced him to the idea of violence as a means to take power. It was like a god-send to Ntamuhanga. “The fellow took to terrorism like a duck takes to water!” said the official that requested anonymity.
From then he became the agent of “Sankara” and his groups in Rwanda. He clandestinely recruited young men and women together with whom they were involved in the plots of subversion, sabotage and terrorism that they planned to perpetrate in Rwanda.
But it wouldn’t be long before Ntamuhanga was arrested in April 2014 on charges of forming a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government and complicity in committing a terrorist act. He was tried in court, convicted of the crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
After 3 years, in October 2017 the man escaped from Nyanza Prison with the complicity of criminal elements, and went to Uganda, where that country’s military intelligence, CMI, sought “asylum” for him, and he went to South Africa. He then became even more active from there trying to lure people into terrorism.
But just like all his fellow plotters of terrorism that now are behind bars on terrorism charges, sooner or later Ntamuhanga will find himself in the same place.