The National Liberation Front (FLN), a rebel group in Rwanda, has Tuesday claimed taking over some of the parts of Northern Rwanda, allegedly prompting government forces to quit and extend in the interior of the Central African country.
In a statement by the group Spokesperson, Maj Callixte Sankara, the rebels have been in control of the regions near Nyungwe Forest since Friday.
“From Friday, the 15th of March 2018, our forces are in full control of the Northern regions of Nyungwe forest specifically around areas bordering Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru sectors,” Sankara said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Saturday the 16th of March, 2019 at night, we overpowered the RDF (Rwanda’s national army) marine forces in lake Kivu and managed to progress,” he adds.
He says on Sunday, the rebels “successfully carried out a military operation in the southwestern region of Nyungwe forest in which they defeated the Rwandan Defence Forces” in Karambi and and entered the Nyungwe Forest Military bases in Nyamasheke district.
Sankara says that by Tuesday, they were still in control of the Southwest and northern borders of Nyungwe forest and “we advise all citizens residing in and along those sectors to remain calm and about night movements especially in militarised zones.”
Formed in 2018, the rebel group which transited from an opposition political party (Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change), said its mission is to put an immediate end to the dictatorial power of the RPF – Kagame.
“The NLF will use all possible means including the armed struggle to drive the RPF out of power, since it refused all peaceful ways,” Sankara said in 2018.
Disunity among the people of Rwanda allegedly championed by the state and the techniques of impoverishment and starvation by unprecedented tax pressure, large-scale expropriation and other multiple cruel strategies are some of the reasons they gave for rebelling against the Kagame administration.
Sankara said: “Kagame has no intention of renouncing the massacres, since terror is the driving force of his system, to the point that his current victims are the survivors of the genocide transformed into his trade commodity – caused by himself, when he shot down the plane carrying both President Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntaryamira of Burundi on 6 April 1994.”
According to him, President Kagame fraudulently modified the Constitution to cling on to power, resorting to the victimisation of his opponents, while murdering some of them both inside and outside the country.
Several opposition politicians including Victoire Ingabire and Diane Shima Rwigara have been arrested over what many describe as tramped up charges with dozens in and outside of the country murdered.
Rwanda has not yet responded to the claims by the rebel group, but for years now, Rwanda has been accusing her neighbours Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and later Uganda of providing recruitment ground to groups hostile to the Kagame administration. Uganda refutes Kigali’s allegations as false.
Uganda hosts over one million refugees including Rwandans. Uganda’s open-border policy to refugees has been hailed by the United Nations as the best in the world.
President Kagame and many in the Kigali government were refugees in Uganda. Thousands of Rwandans continued to live and work in Uganda even after RPF took charge of Rwanda. Banyarwanda are recognised as a tribe by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.