By Clement Uwiringiyimana
KIGALI (Reuters) – Rebel official Callixte Nsabimana pleaded guilty in a Rwandan court on Thursday to charges of terrorism, murder and hostage-taking in part of a violent campaign to oust long-ruling President Paul Kagame.
Nsabimana, known by his alias Sankara, is spokesman for the Forces for National Liberation (FLN), which has carried out a number deadly attacks in Rwanda in recent years, including attacks on villages and buses.
FLN is the military arm of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) political party which opposes Kagame.
A total of 16 charges were read out by the prosecution. They included formation of an irregular armed group, committing terrorist acts and spreading false information.
“I plead guilty of all charges and ask forgiveness from people who were affected by the attacks and also from the president of Rwanda,” Nsabimana said in the courtroom in the capital Kigali.
Last December the FLN claimed responsibility for an attack on passenger buses in the Nyungwe Forest National Park, close to the border with Burundi. Two people were killed and eight wounded. In March, it claimed to control large parts of the forest.
Kagame and his government face resistance from an array of dissident groups, both armed and unarmed, who see him as an autocratic leader unwilling to relinquish power after 19 years as president.
(Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Angus MacSwan)