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Rwanda Police Denies Missing Persons Report

Rwanda’s national police has dismissed allegations by Human Rights Watch that a number of people have gone missing or are victims of forcible disappearance in the north and west of the country.

The police were reacting to a report that Human Rights Watch published on Friday. The group said an increasing number of people have been forcibly disappeared or have been reported missing in Rwanda since March. The report cited 14 cases.

In response, the police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner of Police Damas Gatare said “there are no missing persons and the accusations are false, baseless and have no evidence.”

Gatare's statement explained that “during recent operations... to arrest suspects alleged of conspiracy against established government and terror activities, some people were apprehended.”

He said “it took time to crack down this network” but added, “we have over 35 suspects who will be handed over to prosecution."

The police spokesman said “the operation was conducted in partnership with the general population, local leaders and other security organs,” and “followed credible information provided by members of the public.”

He added that the security organs enforce laws “in a professional manner” and there was “therefore no cause for alarm.”

Reacting to the police statement, Human Rights Watch researcher Carina Tertsakian said she hopes the authorities will physically produce the people being held.

The assistant commissioner of police also gave details of the death of a suspect who was shot and killed on Friday.

Gatare said Alfred Nsengimana tried to escape while taking investigators to a place where he said guns were hidden, and was shot and killed by a Rwanda Correctional Services guard.