Rwanda: Two killed and six injured in suspected rebel attack on bus

Rwanda: Two killed and six injured in suspected rebel attack on bus
Two people have been killed in an attack on a bus in southern Rwanda, which local police blamed on 'armed thugs' allegedly connected to rebel groups.
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'The assailants killed the bus driver, and one passenger,' said local police [source: Getty]

Two people were killed and six others injured when armed men suspected of belonging to a rebel group shot at a passenger bus in southern Rwanda, police said Saturday.

The attack took place on Saturday afternoon in Nyamagabe district near the Burundi border, police said in a statement, adding that the "armed thugs (were) suspected to be remnants of FLN" or National Liberation Front.

"The assailants killed the bus driver, and one passenger, and also injured six other passengers," the police said.

A Rwandan court last year sentenced Paul Rusesabagina, the "Hotel Rwanda" hero turned outspoken government critic, to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges for allegedly backing the FLN.

The group is blamed for a spate of deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019 which killed nine people.

Rusesabagina's family and his supporters have dismissed the trial as a sham, rife with irregularities, and the verdict has sparked international concern, with the United States saying last month that he was "wrongfully detained".

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Rusesabagina, who holds US permanent residence and Belgian citizenship, has denounced Rwandan President Paul Kagame as a dictator.

His family, who have campaigned globally for his release, are now warning that the 68-year-old is at risk of dying behind bars because of his poor health.

He has denied any involvement in the attacks, but was a founder of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition group of which the FLN is seen as the armed wing.

The former hotel manager is credited with saving more than 1,200 lives during the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis, but also moderate Hutus - were slaughtered.

He used his fame to launch tirades against Kagame and has been behind bars since his arrest in August 2020 when a plane he believed was bound for Burundi landed instead in Kigali in what his family has described as a kidnapping.