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Rwanda chief opposition leader hanged by government

by James Ateenyi

Rwanda correctional service has said that the jailed Vice president of Rwanda opposition party FDU-Inkingi has on Sunday escaped from the prison.

Boniface Twagirimana was found missing during the morning routine headcount at the prison Monday according to local media who quoted the country’s spokesperson of the correctional service.

The spokesperson alleged that Twagirimana together with other prisoners escaped from prison by jumping over the prison’s fence adding that the investigation has started into the alleged escape.

The report has however, has been rejected by FDU, an registered opposition political party stating no one can manage to jump over the prison complex fence.

The FDU further alleged that Twagirimana could not manage to escape from highly guarded prison five days after being transferred to the facility.

“This information…leaves us to believe that there could be foul play by Rwandan security services,” the statement said.

It adds, “We call on the Rwandan government to inform the family, the party FDU-Inkingi and the general prison about the circumstances of the disappearance of Twagirimana. Mr Twagirimana was in the custody of the state which is accountable for his safety.”

Twagirimana was arrested along with eight other FDU party members in September 2017 and has been charged with treason alleging they formed a rebel group with aim of overthrowing president Paul Kagame government, an allegations Twagirimana denies.

The FDU members were remanded in a Kigali prison, a facility where their party leader and Kagame harsh critics Victoire Ingabire, was serving her sentence on charges related to comments she made about the country’s 1994 genocide and collaborating with a “terrorist organization.”
Twagirimana was transferred from Kigali’s Mageragere prison to Mpanga prison on 3rd October causing serious condemnation because his family members were not alerted of the move.

In May 2017, FDU member Jean Damascene Habarugira disappeared mysteriously after he was called to meet a senior government official. Few days later, Habarugira’s family were informed that had died and asked to collect his body from a local hospital.

Twagirimana denounced Habarugira’s murder as an assassination. In a statement, the FDU said that Habarugira was “assassinated in cold blood” because of his opposition to the local authority’s agricultural policies and concerns over police brutality.

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