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Rwanda Police Detain Opposition Leader Ingabire

  • Peter Clottey

Rwanda's arrested opposition leader Victoire Ingabire

Rwanda's arrested opposition leader Victoire Ingabire

A leading member of Rwanda’s opposition said police Thursday arrested the leader of the United Democratic Forces (UDF) party, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, after she was accused of having ties to a Hutu rebel group.

Rwanda’s government said that the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Hutu rebel group had a role in the country’s 1994 genocide. The rebel group has also been accused of committing atrocities in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alice Muhirwa said police announced on the State Broadcaster that Ingabire is being detained for an unspecified period as security agents continue investigating her ties to activities of the FDLR rebel group.

“Some policemen came (to her) home, then (held) discussions with her, (and) then they brought her straight to CID (Criminal Investigations Department). Up to now, she is not yet back home. We heard from the policeman (who) gave an interview saying that they are going to detain her in Cyicukiro brigade. Yet, she was still at CID and the investigation was still going on.”

Muhirwa said the opposition UDF party has spoken with Ingabire’s lawyer about her arrest, but expressed doubt that the police will allow the opposition leader’s attorney to see her during the police interrogation.

Ingabire, who was detained in April after returning to the country in January, has been a staunch critic of President Paul Kagame saying the Rwandan leader has stifled the opposition and that he has dictatorial tendencies.

President Kagame recently won an overwhelming majority in Rwanda’s recent presidential election. Ingabire, who was barred from competing in the August poll, rejected the results of the election as fraudulent and called on the international community to reject the outcome.

Muhirwa said members of the opposition UDF party are concerned about Ingabire’s well being as she is being subjected to what she described as intensive police interrogation.

“The police say she has links to that FDLR member (Peter Uwumuremyi). But, for us, we really ignore that because that guy is not recognized as a UDF member. That is all.”