Ntamuhanga, Ndayizera convicted of terrorism charges

On 7 May 2021 at 10:50

The High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border crimes on Thursday 6th May 2021 convicted Cassien Ntamuhanga and Phocas Ndayizera of terrorism charges.

Ntamuhanga who was tried in absentia has been sentenced to 25 years while Ndayizera was handed 10-year sentence.

The two men have been tried along with 12 co-accused people on account of three charges including plans to manufacture dynamite bombs which would be detonated in different parts of Kigali specifically targeting public infrastructures including power plants and fuel depots.

The duo was involved in the same case with deceased Kizito Mihigo.

The 14 people involved in the case faced three terrorism charges with Ntamuhanga as the main financier of the plot.

Prosecution told the court that Ndayizera had communicated with Ntamuhanga, (who had previously been sentenced to 25 years on terrorism and treason charges and escaped later in 2017) to finalize plans to make explosives using dynamite.

Ndayizera, a former freelance journalist of BBC Gahuzamiryango was arrested with explosives in 2018.

The Prosecution said that they would detonate these explosives using mobile phones and later escape through Uganda after finalizing their plans.

They had hired a group of people to lay these explosives in targeted locations including Jali Power Station, Nyabugogo near the butchery and other places including Maison de Jeunes in Kimisagara.

During trial proceedings, the Prosecution said that Ntamuhanga requested Ndayizera to hire someone who can manufacture wirelessly controlled explosives that can be detonated using mobile phone.

The Prosecution also alleged that Ndayizera and Ntamuhanga had plans to detonate explosives to destabilize established leadership.

It was said that Ndayizera had rented a house in the Southern Province district of Muhanga at Rwf 70,000 where the dynamite bombs would be made.

He had hired Eliaquim Karangwa, who had knowledge on making explosives using different materials.

The court said that Ntamuhanga was accused by Ndayizera based of the fact that they held negotiations where the latter asked him if he could find someone to make explosives.

It is said that Ndayizera and Karangwa came up with the budget of UD$15,000 to make the explosive devices. They shared with Ntamuhanga who claimed that the amount was high that he could only afford UD$1500, which he considered enough to make the bombs.

The Prosecution also revealed that Ndayizera and Karangwa used code language to disguise their activities.

The court revealed that there are enough evidences that Ndayizera and Karangwa admitted their plans with Ntamuhanga to detonate bombs.

It is said that Ndayizera had previously pleaded guilty to the charges and said that he was misled by different individuals that he wrote to different institutions apologizing for his actions and seeking forgiveness.

Karangwa also pleaded guilty but claimed that he was not aware of the purpose of the explosives.

The court said that what they admitted during investigations is evidenced by WhatsApp messages exchanged with Ntamuhanga showing Ndayizera’s research on ‘Dynamite’.

It was also revealed that Karangwa and Ndayizera conspired with Ntamuhanga to detonate explosives.

The court convicted Ntamuhanga, Ndayizera, Karangwa and five co-accused of plots to unlawfully use explosives in public places and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

The court however acquitted them of plans to destabilize or overthrow established leadership by means of war or other powers.

Ntamuhanga was sentenced to 25 years considering for being a major mastermind, while Ndayizera, Karangwa and five of his colleagues were sentenced to 10 years in prison because their activities were neutralized before happening.

The court also acquitted the remaining six co-accused and ruled their release.