‘Why is my sister’s killer feted at peace talks?’

The newly published Titanic Express has been reviewed by a number of papers. We post below a piece from The Telegraph.

By Thomas Harding

The brother of a British voluntary worker killed in an ethnic cleansing campaign in Africa has accused the authorities of appeasing the organisation that he claims was behind the attack.

Charlotte Wilson was among 21 bus passengers who were lined up alongside a road in Burundi in December 2000 and casually raked with gunfire by the Forces for National Liberation, an extremist Christian group.

Agathon Rwasa, the FNL’s leader, is not only at liberty but has been feted in peace talks in neighbouring Tanzania despite leading an organisation whose members have allegedly massacred thousands, including Miss Wilson.

Richard Wilson accused the Foreign Office of “washing its hands” of his sister’s killing and has called for an international arrest warrant to be issued for Rwasa.

Richard Wilson accused the Foreign Office of “washing its hands” of his sister’s killing and has called for an international arrest warrant to be issued for Rwasa.

He has written an emotive book on the massacre on the Titanic Express – the bus that was ambushed on its way from Rwanda to the Burundian capital of Bujumbura – which contains an extraordinary handwritten account of the FNL killings. The report, purportedly written by the Eagle battalion commander, Albert Sibomana, gives details.

It lists the 963 bullets that were fired and the 24 watches, 39 pairs of trousers, 49 shirts, eight skirts, six pairs of children’s shoes and children’s clothes, a bottle of perfume and a bottle of Martini that were stolen from the victims.

In a margin it lists the number of dead as “21”. But at least three people survived the massacre and gave their accounts to Mr Wilson.

They said the FNL, an extremist Hutu group that carries out massacres while singing hymns and shouting “Hallelujah”, separated Tutsis from other Hutus who were set free. They then lined up the rest of the travellers.

Before she was shot, Miss Wilson, 27, who was travelling with her fianc?, Richard Ndereyimana, was harangued by the gang leader.

“You white people you are the ones that supplied all the weapons,” he yelled at her. “Now you are going to feel what it is like.”

It was a brutal end for the science teacher who had worked for more than a year with Voluntary Service Overseas in Rwanda in a rural school where she met Mr Ndereyimana.

The authorities seem reluctant to prosecute the man who is involved in peace talks despite the FNL continuing to kill civilians in a conflict that has claimed 300,000 lives.

After receiving little information from the Foreign Office and Metropolitan Police, Mr Wilson started his own investigation. This culminated in his book, Titanic Express, about the massacre, Burundi’s conflict and Rwasa’s continued liberty, which is to be published next Thursday.

After interviewing the massacre survivors and journalists and approaching the FNL he set up a website to highlight the group’s alleged atrocities.

It became clear that the FNL had a network in Europe and Mr Wilson, 30, from London, was threatened by a member in Belgium who said: “I’m not far away from you and will extradite you to justice.”

Rwasa and the FNL have denied responsibility for the massacre but Mr Wilson believes the leader should be called to account.

“I don’t think you can do business on terms people like him do business – it’s appeasement. He needs to be held accountable for what he’s done and prosecuted as a war criminal.”

The Foreign Office said yesterday it was “constantly raising” Miss Wilson’s case with the Burundian government. “We are pushing them to bring the killers to justice and have done so on several occasions.”