Agathon Rwasa

Ce site web publie les atrocités des rebelles FNL du Burundi et mène une campagne pour traduire en justice le dirigeant des FNL, Agathon Rwasa. Nous essayons aussi de mettre à nue la question d'impunité en génerale. This website aims to highlight atrocities by the Burundian FNL rebels, and campaigns to see FNL leader Agathon Rwasa brought to justice. We also aim to highlight the issue of impunity worldwide.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

About

This website is managed by Richard Wilson, whose sister Charlotte, a British aid worker, was killed with her fiancé Richard Ndereyimana and 19 other civilians by FNL forces in the December 28th 2000 "Titanic Express" massacre, and whose book of the same name tells the story of the attack and its aftermath. Contributions are also gratefully acknowledged from "Action Contre Genocide" and a number of others who wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

Frequently asked questions



See also: Why Agathon Rwasa?

Q: Who is Agathon Rwasa?

Agathon Rwasa assumed leadership of the Burundian rebel group Palipehutu-FNL (commonly known simply as "FNL"), in the spring of 2001, after deposing the group's previous leader, Cossan Kabura. Prior to that time he was the FNL "chief of operations" around the Burundian capital Bujumbura. The FNL is a Hutu-extremist group linked to the milita who carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Forces under Rwasa's command have been implicated in a systematic campaign of attacks on civilians, both Tutsis and moderate Hutus. One consistent tactic has been the ambushing of civilian vehicles on the roads around the Bujumbura. The largest of these attacks was the December 28th 2000 massacre of passengers travelling on the "Titanic Express" bus. Six of the 21 victims were children. The dead also included several Rwandan students and a professor from the University of Butare, a pregnant woman, and a British aid worker, Charlotte Wilson. Hutu passengers were released unharmed - one with a chilling message for the Burundian government - "We're going to kill them all and there's nothing you can do". Although the Titanic Express massacre received widespread international news coverage, it was merely the largest among many similar attacks, most unreported outside of Burundi.

The FNL's Tutsi victims are often tortured before they are killed. One common method is the cutting of of the victim's nose, the shape of the nose being deemed to be one of the distinguishing features between Hutu and Tutsi.

The Hutu population in the FNL stronghold of "Bujumbura Rurale" (the hilly province which surrounds the Burundian capital) has also suffered extensively. Rwasa's forces have been ruthless in their treatment of Hutus suspected of cooperating with the Burundian government, and those who have refused actively to support the FNL. Reprisal killings and torture have been common. Even among the FNL's own ranks, Rwasa's reign has been brutal. Following an attempt on Rwasa's life in May 2002, one of Rwasa's lieutenants, Anicet Ntawuhiganayo, was reported to have been starved to death.

Rwasa's FNL has also been implicated in the recruitment of child soldiers. In July 2003, scores of children were killed after being sent by the FNL to attack Burundian government positions in Bujumbura. One child who survived reported being told by the FNL that an amulet he had been given would protect him from bullets. Photographs of the dead child soldiers showed several of them clutching amulets. An FNL sympathiser in Canada later claimed that his organisation had scored an important propaganda victory by forcing the Burundian government to kill children.

The most notorious FNL atrocity in recent years was the August 13th 2004 Gatumba massacre, in which 152 Congolese Tutsi refugees were shot, hacked and burned to death. The FNL claimed responsibility for the attack the following day, asserting that they had no fear of brought to account because the international community was powerless to do anything about it. They have since backtracked from this admission. Following the massacre, the international community announced a series of sanctions, and the Burundian government issued arrest warrants for Agathon Rwasa and the FNL spokesman, Pasteur Habimana. Yet when the FNL leader recently appeared in public for the first time, no attempt was made to arrest him.

The abuses committed by the FNL have not been the aberrations of a few "bad apples"; they have been central to the way that the organisation does business. As the leader of a group implicated in numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity and, arguably, genocide, Agathon Rwasa has a serious case to answer.

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Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am by no mean trying to defend the FNL and do not intend to do so in the future. I read most of what you have on this blog, and I noticed that you’re not helping rather you are adding fuel in the already worst situation developing in the great lakes region. You have created a link that I think is absurd and have no facts to back it. Do you have any facts to substantiate the link between the FNL and the militia that committed Rwanda 1994 Genocide? If you do, please provide concrete facts rather than politicized media coverage that continuously surface to advance Rwanda political agenda and reasons to invade Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for its wealth resources.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that you've read very much of this blog.

The links between the FNL and the ex-FAR are well-documented - try this for a start: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/burundi/Burn004-04.htm

Then try googling "gatumba" + "FNL", and see what that turns up.

This website focusses on the FNL, but we are opposed to all human rights abuses by all sides, including the crimes committed by Rwandan forces (amongst others) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The FNL's apologists characterise any criticism of their torture and mass-killing as 'politically-motivated'. Campaigning for the prosecution of documented war criminals is a question of justice and human rights, not politics.

We will continue to highlight FNL atrocities, and demand the prosecution of Agathon Rwasa and his henchmen, because ending impunity is crucial to stopping the violence, and because the victims of the FNL deserve justice.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is your name, having Rwasa + Gatumba on google is not a valid proof. today, I can add your name in Wikpedia...and add that you killed millions of people. If anyone googles your name , he she will see that on google.... How many innocent people had been accused of killing people in burundi

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Richard Wilson said...

Thanks for the comment - there is ample evidence of Rwasa's responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, notably his own public admissions. If you follow this link: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8258.doc.htm, you will find a statement from the United Nations denouncing the August 2004 Gatumba massacre, and noting that Palipehutu-FNL, led by Agathon Rwasa, admittedly responsibility for the attack.

There are numerous reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Crisis Group of atrocities by Rwasa's forces. You might also want to read my book, Titanic Express, which details the evidence of the FNL's responsibility for the death of my sister, Charlotte Wilson, and 20 others, in the December 28th 2000 Titanic Express massacre. At the time of the attack, Rwasa was the FNL's chief of military operations in the Bujumbura area. Once you've had a look at the evidence, please do come back to me with any further questions.

9:25 AM  

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