The exiled editor of the Umuvugizi newspaper in Rwanda said his acting editor was shot and killed late Thursday night in the Rwanda capital, Kigali.
Jean Bosco Gasasira said deputy editor Jean Leonard Rugambage was shot outside his home and died later at a hospital.
Gasasira said Rwandan security killed acting editor Rugambage because the paper was investigating the shooting of Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.
“I’m 100 percent sure it was the office of the national security services which shot him dead. This happened after publishing a story on the Umuvugizi website which cited Rwanda’s chief spy of being involved in the shooting of General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa,” he said.
Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga told VOA that police do not know who was behind the attack or what the motive was. He said police were investigating.
Gasasira said the article on the Umuvugizi website quoted information which showed that there was communication between Rwanda’s chief spy and his driver.
He said the chief spy ordered the driver to finish up the general (Kayumba Nyamwasa) at the hospital with a promise that Rwandan President Paul Kagame would reward the driver.
“One security operative revealed to my editor that he knows that it is their officers who carried out that suicide mission. But they apparently revealed to my editor thinking that he was a hotel worker,” Gasasira said.
Gasasira said the Rwandan security began watching acting editor Rugambage after they realized he was a journalist and not a hotel worker.
Gasasira said he told acting editor Rugambage to leave Rwanda and cross into Uganda. But he said his offer came too late.
“He called me before using another line, informing me about the constant surveillance. Then I told him if he feels things getting worse, I told him to cross and flee Rwanda into Uganda to see how we can handle the issue. But unfortunately they killed him before,” he said
Rwanda’s Media High Council this year suspended Umuvugizi and Umuseso for six months on the grounds the two weekly newspapers violated Rwanda’s media laws and incited public order.
Gasasira said the killing of acting editor Rugambage fits the pattern of the Rwandan government’s campaign against the independent media.
“We are under tense surveillance. My journalist was also beaten up by the spokesman on Thursday when he was in an office of an opposition leader where he had gone to investigate some story. The same goes to me. Since Sunday, I’m not allowed to get out of my house. Security sources where I am say there are lots of spies they have sent to finish me,” Gasasira said.