For anyone paying attention to what is happening in Rwanda, President Paul Kamage’s actions come as no surprise. We have been highlighting the case of Paul Rusesabagina, the Hotel Rwanda hero who was kidnapped, arrested, tortured, and recently sentenced to 25 years in prison. His official charges include terrorism but his real crime is speaking out against Kagame’s repressive and violent regime.
Rusesabagina is not Kagame’s first victim, nor his last. Since Rusesabagina was abducted in August 2020, at least 38 people have been forcibly disappeared, killed, or thrown in jail. Recently a mother of four was sentenced to 15 years in prison for posting YouTube videos that were critical of Kagame and his oppressive government. Rwandans who live outside that nation are expected to take loyalty oaths to Kagame’s regime and actions that embarrass him or other higher-ups in his government can face up to five years in prison for each act. Freedom of speech is not a thing in Rwanda.
Rusesabagina has always been a voice for the voiceless in Rwanda, from when he helped those 1268 people at the Hotel Milles Collines in 1994 through today where he continues to speak out against Kagame’s oppression. He is not alone, as other Rwandans have joined the cause in letting the world know of Rwanda’s continuing plight, and unfortunately, all have shared one thing- the wrath of Kagame.
The State Department needs to act now to help this hero return home, he is not safe in Kigali. There is no evidence of Kagame stopping his reign of terror throughout the country, and the United State’s silence only further allows Kagame to continue illegally silencing critics. Please sign this petition demanding Secretary of State Blinken act to bring Paul Rusesabagina home.
Here are other people targeted by Kagame since Rusesabagina’s kidnapping
Arbitrary arrest and hunger strike of Dr. Christopher Kayumba: September 9, 2021
When he launched his Rwandese Platform for Democracy (RPD), Dr. Christopher Kayumba informed Rwandans in an open letter that he knew he would be arrested by the regime of General Paul Kagame. These are Kayumba’s words delivered on March 30, 2021: “By launching RPD, we knew we could face jail or worse. Together with others, we decided that, instead of living in fear, it was better to speak up and face the consequences.” The Kagame regime arrested Kayumba on September 9, 2021. A day after he was detained over rape allegations, Kayumba went on hunger strike and vowed he will not eat in protest over the trumped-up charges.
Arbitrary arrest and illegal detention of Idamange: February 15, 2021
Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne popularly known as Idamange, a mother of four, a genocide survivor, social media icon, and an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government, was arrested by the Rwandan security forces. Her crime: having the courage to speak out against the Kagame regime on her YouTube channel, and her sharp commentary on the closing political space in Rwanda, extrajudicial detentions, torture, and kidnapping of Rwandan citizens. She has claimed that she’s been handcuffed and shackled during her detention and the torture has gone as far as not allowing her to self-care or releasing the handcuffs during her periods. She was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The extrajudicial killing of Abdallah Seif Bamporiki in South Africa: February 21, 2021
Abdallah Seif Bamporiki, chairman of the South African branch of the Rwanda National Congress, was shot and killed in Cape Town. This killing of a Rwandan opposition leader in South Africa was the latest in a series of violent attacks on exiled dissidents. A week prior to his murder, Mr. Bamporiki had led a memorial service for Rwandan opposition activists who have been killed worldwide, including another RNC leader, former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, who had been killed in South Africa in 2013. Another RNC leader, former Rwandan military chief of staff Kayumba Nyamwasa, narrowly escaped death in 2010 when he was shot in Johannesburg.
Forced Disappearance of Bahati Innocent: February 7, 2021
Bahati Innocent is a beloved Rwandan poet, activist, and social commentator. He has been missing since February and has become another grim example of a steady stream of forced disappearances of high-profile critics of the Rwandan government. With whereabouts unknown for 2 months now, Bahati Innocent rose to public acclaim as a young 23-year old poet writing about everything from poverty, hunger, unequal access to education, and human rights violations. Forced disappearances of people like Bahati Innocent is a first and a worrisome risk factor indicating the closed political space where the Kagame regime increases its efforts to silence high-profile critics.
The Disappearance of Mitsindo Viateur: November 17, 2020
This case is alarming because Mitsindo Viateur has not been seen in public, charged, or produced in court since Mid-November. He left his home to respond to a summons by local authorities. When his wife asked the summoning local authority, the local authority, named Genevieve Uwamahoro, stated that Viateur had been taken in handcuffs by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and that she had no further news. However, in spite of Ms. Uwamahoro’s claim of seeing him in handcuffs, the RIB denied having Mitsindo Viateur in custody for a whole week. After some public pressure, the RIB reported that they had him. The RIB claimed on social media and government propaganda newspapers broadcasting in Kinyarwanda that Mitsindo Viateur was being investigated for involvement with armed or terror groups — the same charge that was leveled against Paul Rusesabagina.
Viateur’s charge is similar not only to that against Paul Rusesabagina but also to charges against other high-profile individuals such as previous presidential candidates Victoire Ingabire, who served eight years and Diane Rwigara, who served one year in prison on this same charge of “being involved with armed groups or terror groups”. There is deep concern that Mitsindo Viateur has been tortured and is being hidden from the public until he recovers. Instead of producing him in court or showing him to the public, the government of Rwanda has instead begun a smear campaign accusing him of “being part of armed groups” and “spreading hateful messages”.
RwandanLivesMatter cases from 30/08/2020 up to 08/08/2021
Sunday, 4 July 2021
Charles NTEZIYAREMYE was found dead in Kabeza cell office, Rilima Sector in Bugesera District, where he was being held. According to the residents of Kabeza cell, Charles after being tortured (beatings) by the patrolmen in presence of the executive secretary of Kabeza cell, but the executive secretary said Charles committed suicide using shoelaces.
Mbitsemunda Jean Baptiste and Mukarukundo Sandrine
Monday, 14 June 2021
According to the newspaper Igihe.com, which works on behalf of the Rwandan government, the cause of death was suicide.
- Why would the two young lovers with jobs decide to commit suicide?
- The choice of the shoelace as a string to tie up is questionable.
- Who tied up the two victims?
- Why did they take a bag with them if they intended to commit suicide?
- Why wasn’t the name of their employee released?
The doubts about this case benefit the victims so that one day their families and relatives could understand what happened and the victims could obtain.
Anonymous men (5)
28 April 2021
Rwandan National Police in Nyarubuye Sector, Kirehe District, shot and killed five prisoners who allegedly attempted to escape.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the five prisoners allegedly tried to escape when they were about to take a shower and were immediately shot by the guards.
Rwanda National Police spokesman CP Kabera, John Bosco, told Igihe.com: “According to the first information we have, the police were providing water to wash the prisoners in the morning. When they were doing that, the prisoners immediately came out and ran, the police fired into the air and that didn’t stop the prisoners, so they fired at the five.
Nzayisenga Jean Damascène and another person19 April 2021
On April 19 and 20, 2021, soldiers of Battalion 63 of the Rwandan army shot and killed two people presumed to be “enemies of the country” because they had not crossed the official border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Manirahari Innocent and Ndirinde Emmanuel
14 April 2021
Two men were shot by Rwandan military forces of the 9th Battalion. They were suspected of being enemies of the country for having passed through the valley that links Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is considered an illegal route.
The victims were Manirahari Innocent, who died on the spot, and Ndirinde Emmanuel, who was injured in the leg. Both lived in the Kinyanzovu cell.
Jean de Dieu Twiringiyimana13 April 2021
Jean de Dieu Twiringiyimana, who resided in the Murehe cell, Muyumbu sector in Rwamagana, was executed by Rwandan military and police officers on Tuesday April 13, 2021. He was alleged to be a thief.
“It was in the morning when the military and police came to look for Dagara (the nickname of the victim) and the others suspected of stealing macadamia, they found the others and not him and took them away. The next morning they came back to look for him and found him hiding in a tree, they took him to the forest, a few minutes later we heard two shots, we went to look and he was dead,” said one witness.
Kwizera Aime Fidèle
2 April 2021
On April 2, Kwizera Aime Fidèle, a 25-year-old man who was alleged to have stabbed a 7-year-old child after raping her, was shot by Rwandan police while in a detention cell. He allegedly tried to escape when he was going to the toilet. The incident happened in Cyumba police station.
27 March 2021
On March 27, 2021 Twizerimana, a head worker in the Sorwathe tea factory was shot by the Rwandan police and died on the spot. The incident took place in the village of Ndorandi, Butunzi cell, Kinihira sector, Rulindo district.
24 February 2021
Daniel MASENGESHO, 20-year-old, was shot dead in Rusizi Prison in western Rwanda on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, according to Umuseke.
The incident happened around 8:30 p.m., while the 20-year-old prisoner, Daniel Masengesho, was shot as he was allegedly “trying to escape from prison.”
A resident of the area and neighbor of the Prison told Umuseke that on Wednesday night they heard a lot of gunshots inside Rusizi Prison and the next day they heard the news that a prisoner was shot dead.
1 February 2021
a.k.a Gikominari, a resident of Kinyaga cell, Nkanka sector in Rusizi district, 40 years-old, mysteriously died in a police cell two weeks after his family and neighbors reported that he was abducted by a local administration leader and a policeman.
Members of Mr. Nsekanabo Joel’s family and his neighbors say they last met him on the 17th January. His wife Claudine MUKAMUGANGA, told VOA that her husband was abducted by the executive secretary of the Kinyaga cell, Mr. Japhet NDAGIJIMANA.
Anonymous men (2)9 January 2021
On January 9, 2021, Rwandan police, operating in Kigali city, shot and killed instantly two people whose names were not disclosed. According to the police report, the victims attempted to steal a SONY-brand flat-screen TV set and resisted arrest. The information was posted on the Twitter account of the pro-government online newspaper Igihe.com and was deleted after a while. Igihe.com deleted the tweet (https://twitter.com/IGIHE/status/1347784684894384128) they had posted.
27 December 2020
Unidentified gunmen stormed the home of Bavugamenshi Fidèle, a resident of the Rusizi district; tied him up and left him stranded after killing his wife, Mukandayisenga Olive.
The incident took place in the village of Mpongora, Gatsiro cell, Gihundwe sector of Rusizi district, around 3 p.m. on December 27, 2020.
The attackers were three in number, two of whom were in Rwanda military uniform and one in civilian clothes.
25 December 2020
On December 28, 2020, TV1 Rwanda reported that according to Gisagara residents, the police operating in Mukindo area beat a boy named Musabyamahoro Etienne, who died later as a result of the beatings.
The same day, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau stated on its Twitter account that it had arrested the executive secretary of the Mukindo cell in the District of Gisagara for beating Musabyemahoro Etienne, 15 years old, who died as a result of the beating.
23 December 2020
The lifeless body of an unidentified man was found on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 around 8:00 am in the village of Karambo, Cyangugu cell in the Kamembe sector on the shores of Lake Kivu.
The body was found trapped in the bamboos that support the shores of the lake, 200m from the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some residents who saw the body told the newspaper Igihe.com that the upper part of the body was in a bag, the type of bag used to carry crops, and the lower part of the body in the waters of Lake Kivu.
Kayitare Jean Pierre, an inhabitant, said, “The bag was only covering the up part of the victim’s body, making him/her unidentifiable, The covered part was on the shores, whereas the rest was floating on the water”.
Rwanda is considered 100% safe and citizens are monitored and required to declare to the local authorities their guests if they stay overnight. In this context when a lifeless body is found, the circumstances of death require that light be shed.
Murenzi Chabobuzi, Rusizi Rwamayanje and Ronald Nihabusa
20 November 2020 (262 days awaiting justice)
In the evening of November 20, 2020, the Rwandan Army guns down Murenzi Chabobuzi, a resident of Burera district in Northern Province, Rwanda. Two others victims, Rusizi Rwamayanje and Ronald Nihabusa, were injured. The shooting took place while the victims were allegedly crossing to Rwanda when they were intercepted by Rwandan security in Mushunga a short distance from the border.
26 October 2020
On October 26, 2020, the Rwandan army shot a man who was trying to cross the valley that links Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo
The death penalty has been abolished in Rwanda, every person should be brought before a court of law.
13 September 2020
In the early hours of Sunday morning, September 13, 2020, police shot and killed François MANIRAGABA.
Rwanda National Police spokesperson CP John Bosco Kabera told Ukwezi that François MANIRAGABA, who was shot dead, had been sentenced to four years in prison for burglary.
According to a police spokesperson, the deceased was still being held at Murambi Police Station for compliance to Coronavirus prevention guidelines.
4 September 2020
An 18-years-old youngman was found hanging from a tree with a sweater around his neck and a cloth wrapped around his mouth.
The body was found in Rwambogo Cell, Musanze Sector, in Musanze District. It was reported on the evening of September 3, 2020.
The Executive Secretary of Cyabagarura Cell, Niyoyita Ally, said that the news of the young man’s death reached his office but the cause of his death was not known, but the authorities have launched an investigation.
“We learned the news of the child’s death at around 9pm yesterday, from a child who was grazing goats and found him hanging dead from a tree”
In this context, when a lifeless body is found, the circumstances of death require that light be shed.
Boy MUNYANEZA and others
4 September 2020
Officers of Rwanda National Police shot and killed a young man, Munyaneza Boy, who was detained in Kimisagara school.
According to the Rwandan police version of the account, Munyaneza Boy was shot dead as he tried to escape from custody and run towards Mpazi River after he lied to the guarding officers that he wanted to go out to the bathroom.
Munyaneza was arrested on suspicion of burglary and was being held at the Kimisagara School Complex.
The 23-year-old was arrested on August 29, seven days after his arrest.
According to residents of the area who spoke to Umuseke TV on condition of anonymity due to fear of their safety, they said they heard 12 shots, and 3 people were killed.
30 August 2020
On August 30, 2020, the Rwandan national police of the Ngoma district shot dead a young man named Nsengiyumva Evariste, an inhabitant of the Zaza sector.
The newspaper Igihe.com covered the event in a first article that the newspaper has since removed
Kayitesi Germaine : 27/08/2021 beaten by DASSO and ended up having a miscarriage (an induced abortion)
Members of the district security service in Mayange (DASSO: a body that works under the authority of the Rwandan police and local authorities), according to the version of the inhabitants, had beaten a pregnant woman and she ended up having a miscarriage (an induced abortion) as a result of these beatings. The authorities, through the Executive Secretary of the sector, deny the facts.
Anonymous victim kidnapped
Friday, 14 May 2021
n a video taken in Musanze town, the northern province of Rwanda, between 4pm and 5pm and gone viral on social media; four men in civilian clothes kidnapped a man whose identity remains unknown, and violently punching him before forcing him in one of the two waiting vehicles, which had Rwanda civilian registration plates, and speeded away.
This kidnapping could be linked to the way some people are being reported missing in Rwanda.
7 February 2021
Poet Innocent Bahati has been reported missing, he was last seen in Nyanza on Sunday 7th Feb 2021 at..
This young poet and ICT teacher at Green Hills Academy is best known for his poems about life and love, his poems such as ‘Imana ya Sembwa’, ‘Urwandiko rwa Bene Gakara’ and his most recent release called ‘Mfungurira’, have been popular on YouTube. His poems are sometimes characterized by strong words about what is not going well in Rwanda.
Junior Rumaga, also a poet living with Bahati in Kigali, is following up on the disappearance of his friend, he told the BBC that they have not yet seen Bahati.
The spokesperson for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) says an investigation is underway.
Diogene RUKUNDO GAKWANDI
29 November 2020
Rukundo Gakwandi Diogene has been missing since November 29, 2020.
He was a teacher in the Masaka school group. He left his home at 10:00 am. He left his home to buy credits for his phone. He did not return to his home. His family and friends are looking for him.
Rwanda is considered 100% safe and citizens are monitored and required to declare to the local authorities their guests if they stay overnight. In this context when someone is missing and his relatives have no news from him and live with fear, the probability that his life may be in danger or that he has been murdered is high. The light must be shed on this case.
7 November 2020
Guillaume RUTEMBESA is young Rwandan influenceur, living in exile in Kenya since the beginning of 2017 who has disappeared since November 7, 2020.
He was very well known by “Rwot”, the Rwandan community on Twitter because he was there the most active Rwandan personality on Twitter with nearly 71,000 tweets in 3 years, an average of 60 per day over this period.
On a regular basis, he used to publish state scandals that embarrassed Kigali or compromising information on the particularly luxurious life led by the children of Paul Kagame, who nevertheless runs one of the poorest countries in the world.
His publications often earned him regular insults and threats from supporters of the RPF regime, such as this tweet of October 21, 2020, written by Damien Nkaka, a former RPF soldier now living in Canada, who told him “little dog, you think you’ll manage to hide better than Sendashonga” in reference to Seth Sendashonga, the former RPF Interior Minister, assassinated on May 16, 1998 in Nairobi and whose assassination was claimed by Paul Kagame.
Since November 7, 2020, Guillaume Rutembesa has disappeared and has given no sign of life.
Many Rwandans believe that he was a victim of the Rwandan death squads that are very active in Kenya.
We demand a national and international investigation into this case.