On January 17, 2017, the 1st Vice President of the Rwandan United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), Boniface Twagirimana, was summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and interrogated for a whole day for being the source of two articles that appeared in local newspapers and in social media, accusing security forces of extra judicial killings. The articles reported the death of the late Mugisha of Karongi District shot dead by members of the Rwandan army around 9 o’clock in the morning of the 1st of January 2017, after being arrested for stealing a goat and the death of the late Sekanabo Janvier, Kabuga cell, and Rusororo sector near Kigali, shot by police after his arrest. He was alleged to have resisted the redistribution of his father’s land.
Even though, they do not deny that the people died, the police told Twagirmana that he had no right to provide the information without having seen death certificates issued by medical Doctors. He was therefore accused of inciting the population to hate the government because of informing the media about the crimes committed by security forces. For the third time, he is to report again today, Thursday 19, 2017 at the CID office at 4:00 PM, just before the office closure.
We would like to point out that there is nothing new about extra-judicial killings by rwandan security forces. Human Rights Watch and the US State Department latest reports highlight cases of extra-judicial killings by these organs of government. Local newsppapers earlier reported extra-judicial killings of Nzabonimana Jean Claude of Ngoma district on December 5, 2016; Rukundo of Rubavu district on December 6, 2016, Musonera Samson and Bizabarimana Jean Claude of Musanze district on December 7, 2016.
This latest harrassment calls to mind the clampdown on the oppositon in the run up to the last presidential elections in 2010. The President of FDU-Inkingi, Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, was arrested but released on bail. Two independent newspapers critical of government were banned, one journalist was murdered, the Vice President of the Green Party was found beheaded, Mr. Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (PS- Imberakuri), Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, was arrested and Mr. Deo Mushaidi, Chairman of the Pact for People’s Defence political party, was abducted from Burundi in March 2010, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. There was an assassination attempt on the life of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, former RPA chief of staff, exiled in South Africa.
We strongly suspect that the interrogation of Mr. Boniface Twagirimana could be a prelude to his formal arrest and detention as it happened to our leader, Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, and to a new clampdown on other members of the opposition in the run up to presidential elections scheduled for August this year.
FDU-Inkingi condemns in the strongest terms possible the harrassment of leaders of the oppositon and in particular the harrassment of FDU-Inkingi’s first Vice President Boniface Twagirimana for informing newspapers about extra-judicial killings in Rwanda. An opposition leader denied of the right to communicate and to challenge government policies has no purpose in the body politic.
Done in London, UK, on January 19, 2017
Commissioner for External Relations and spokesperson