Rwanda ar­rests lead­ers of two op­po­si­tion par­ties

Observer on Saturday - - News - AFP AFP

– Sev­eral lead­ers from two Rwan­dan par­ties not recog­nised by the au­thor­i­ties have been ar­rested, po­lice and op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

Since Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame’s re-elec­tion on Au­gust 4 with 99 per­cent of the vote, po­lice in Rwanda tar­geted a string of po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents for ques­tion­ing or ar­rest.

Kagame and his rebel army ended the 1994 geno­cide and he is cred­ited with cre­at­ing a peace­ful coun­try since then, but he is also widely crit­i­cised for sup­press­ing ba­sic free­doms. Di­ane Rwigara, who was blocked from chal­leng­ing Kagame in the Au­gust elec­tion, was ar­rested by po­lice in re­cent days along with some fam­ily mem­bers.

A state­ment from the FDU-Inkingi party, whose leader Vic­toire Ingabire was jailed in 2013 on charges of

KIGALI

deny­ing the geno­cide and ter­ror­ism, said three se­nior party of­fi­cials had been ar­rested in Rwanda on Wed­nes­day along with a party em­ployee and a se­cu­rity guard.

Party spokesman Justin Bahunga is­sued a state­ment from ex­ile in Bri­tain con­demn­ing the ar­rests as “in­tim­i­da­tion”.

“This wave of ar­rests comes after that of the Di­ane Rwigara fam­ily and seeks to com­pletely si­lence the dis­sent­ing voices of the demo­cratic op­po­si­tion in Rwanda,” he said. An­other party, the PDP-Imanzi, also an­nounced the ar­rest in Kigali of its Vice-Pres­i­dent, Jean-Marie Vian­ney Kayumba.

Nei­ther the FDU-Inkingi nor the PDP-Imanzi is recog­nised by au­thor­i­ties. Po­lice said Wed­nes­day it was “hold­ing seven in­di­vid­u­als linked to armed groups op­er­at­ing in a neigh­bour­ing coun­try”. Four FDU-Inkingi of­fi­cials were among the names listed by po­lice.

In the past Rwanda has ac­cused op­po­nents - in­clud­ing Ingabire - of links to the FDLR, a Rwan­dan rebel group ex­iled in east­ern Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo since 1994 and in­clud­ing among its lead­ers some of those re­spon­si­ble for the geno­cide.

OP­PO­SI­TION: Di­ane Rwigara, who was blocked from chal­leng­ing Rwanda’s Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame in the Au­gust elec­tion.

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