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Federal judge says refugee living in Cedar Rapids took part in Rwandan genocide

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A federal judge says a Rwandan refugee living in Cedar Rapids "actively participated in Rwandan genocide."

Chief United State District Court Judge Linda R. Reade making the claim in a sentencing memorandum for Gervais ("Ken") Ngombwa, who gained entry into the United States as a refugee from Rwanda in 1998.

In 1994, hundreds of thousands of people from the Tutsi ethnic group were killed at the hands of the majority Hutu population over a 100-day period during the Rwandan genocide.

Ngombwa was convicted of one count of unlawfully procuring or attempting to procure naturalization or citizenship, one count of procuring citizenship to which he was not entitled, one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure citizenship, and one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the Department of Homeland Security following a jury trial in January of last year.

Evidence presented at the trial showed Ngombwa knowingly made false claims about his origins in order to enter the United States -- which include telling agents that his brother was Faustin Twagiramungu, a former Prime Minister of Rwanda living in Belgium in exile, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

During a sentencing hearing last September, evidence of Ngombwa's history in Rwanda was presented in court. Department of Homeland Security officials said Ngombwa was tied to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and that he was charged and convicted in two Rwandan courts for his involvement in the genocide prior to coming to the United States. Officials said Ngombwa made several incorrect statements as he progressed through the refugee resettlement process, including:

- Falsely claiming to be the brother of a moderate Hutu leader

- Falsely claiming to be related to other adult refugees

- Failing to disclose the names of numerous relatives living in Rwanda

- Falsely claiming certain children were his own biological children with his wife Antoinette Mukakabanda

- Falsely claiming he had not been married to anyone other than Mukakabanda

- Falsely denying he had relatives in the military

- Falsely claiming he, his wife, and his mother-in-law had been beaten by government forces in 1990 before the genocide began

A court report on Ngombwa also shows witnesses said he killed "numerous" people during the genocide, and intentionally set fire to his home in Cedar Rapids and then submitted a false insurance claim in 2013. 

Ngombwa's sentence will be announced on March 2 in Cedar Rapids.

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