KIGALI – Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has expressed alarm over the murder of another Rwandan opposition leader.
Syridio Dusabumuremyi, the national coordinator of FDU-Inkingi party, was stabbed to death on Monday night in the shop where he worked.
The President of FDU-Inkingi, Victoire Ingabire, reported that two unidentified men arrived by motorbike at a canteen run by Syldio Dusabumuremyi in Muhanga district shortly after 9pm local time on September 23 and stabbed him to death.
Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki on Tuesday said: “The violent killing of Syldio Dusabumuremyi is extremely alarming. It’s all the more troubling that it follows numerous suspicious attacks, including the disappearance of an FDU-Inkingi party member barely two months ago, and the death of yet another in March. The Rwandan authorities must conduct an effective and independent investigation into the death of Syldio Dusabumuremyi and the other FDU-Inkingi members who have been found dead or who have disappeared without a trace.”
Ms Nyanyuki added that is essential that the Government of Rwanda protects the rights to freedom of expression and association, including for opposition politicians, and ends the current climate of harassment and intimidation they face.
Ms Ingabire on Monday said they have no hope that the murder will be fully investigated and solved.
“After several unsolved assassinations of our party members, we have no hope that his murder will be fully investigated and solved,” she said.
Rwandan police said two suspects had already been detained.
“Two people have been arrested in connection with the murder and investigations are ongoing,” the Rwanda Investigative Bureau (RIB) said in a statement.
Ingabire’s party has lost several members to mysterious deaths and disappearances, which it sees as an attack on dissenting voices in the country.
On 15 July 2019, Eugène Ndereyimana, another member of FDU-Inkingi, was reported missing by his colleagues when he failed to show up for a meeting in Nyagatare in Eastern Province.
On 9 March 2019, Anselme Mutuyimana, an assistant to Victoire Ingabire, was found dead on the edge of the Gishwati forest in northwestern Rwanda.
On 7 October 2018, Boniface Twagirimana, FDU-Inkingi’s vice-president, was reported to have escaped from Mpanga International Prison, a maximum-security prison in Nyanza district. He has not been seen since. The circumstances of his alleged escape give reason to believe that he may have been subjected to enforced disappearance.
In May 2017, Jean Damascene Habarugira, a local party representative from Ngoma district was found dead.
Illuminée Iragena, an FDU-Inkingi member and a regular visitor to Victoire Ingabire when she was in detention, went missing in March 2016. Sources close to the case believe she was tortured and died in detention. Another member, Eugene Ndereyimana, has been missing since July and is feared dead.
Ingabire, a critic of the government, was released from jail in September last year after receiving an unexpected presidential pardon. She was arrested in 2010 as she planned to contest elections against President Paul Kagame.
Ingabire, an ethnic Hutu, was accused of “genocide ideology” and “divisionism” after publicly questioning the government narrative of the 1994 genocide of mostly Tutsi people that killed around 800,000 people.
Members of Ingabire’s party were frequently arrested during her detention, and human rights groups accused the military of torturing them.
Rights groups accuse Kagame of ruling with an iron fist, clamping down on dissent and opposition politicians.