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Grenade Attack Mars President Kagame’s Election Victory

  • Peter Clottey

Rwanda’s Justice Minister has sharply condemned as barbaric Wednesday’s grenade attack in the capital, Kigali shortly after incumbent President Paul Kagame was officially declared winner of Monday’s vote. At least seven people were wounded.

Tharcisse Karugarama says officials of the security agencies have begun a thorough investigation into what he described as a heinous crime perpetrated against unarmed civilians.

“It is very unfortunate that anybody, anywhere, [and] for whatever reason should find excuse to throw a grenade among innocent people waiting for their taxis at a very, very busy place where children, young and old, [and] women were gathered and trying to get their taxis back home. I don’t think they have any justification whatsoever to throw a grenade at innocent civilians going about their ordinary business,” he said.

Police said a grenade was thrown near the main bus station in the capital. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Justice Minister Karugarama described the attack as an act of malevolence.

“If anybody has a grudge, any reason whatever to fight the government, they should fight the government through means that would target the government, if that is what they are against. But, throwing hand grenades among [a] very busy population is evil. It is unacceptable and I would condemn it in the strongest terms possible,” Karugarama said.

He also called on the security agencies to track down the “evildoers” and bring them to justice.

Rwanda’s electoral commission officially declared incumbent President Paul Kagame duly re-elected after saying he won a landslide victory with about 93 percent of the total vote cast.

But, critics say the three opponents failed to provide any significant challenge during the vote.

Justice Minister Karugarama said that the perpetrators behind the grenade attack will be apprehended and “neutralized.”

Recently, there have been several grenade attacks in the capital Kigali. The government has often blamed opponents for the attacks.

VOA's Vincent Makori ("In Focus" TV program) interviewed Rwanda's Ambassador to the U.S. James Kimonyo about President Kagame’s landslide victory.

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