A senior official in an opposition political party in Rwanda was stabbed to death, in what the party’s leader said was an attempt to intimidate government opponents and prevent her party winning official recognition.
Sylidio Dusabumuremyi, national co-ordinator of the FDU-Inkingi party, was stabbed to death at a canteen at a health centre in southern Rwanda, on Monday, party leader Victoire Ingabire said. The authorities are investigating the killing and two people were arrested.
“It is clear it is intimidation against opposition members. They want to prevent me from creating an opposition party,” Ingabire told Reuters as she arrived at a hearing in the case of nine people from her party who face terrorism-related charges.
“This killing has no other implication other than intimidating Rwandans from participating in politics of their country,” Ingabire said. “It is time to ask security services to do something about the killings and protect opposition members as all Rwandans.”
Ingabire, jailed in 2010 after declaring herself a candidate to challenge President Paul Kagame, is seeking to have her party recognised by the authorities.
Dusabumuremyi was the second aide to Ingabire to be killed this year; her spokesman was found dead in March. Ywo other aides have gone missing in unexplained circumstances.
Rights group Amnesty International said: “It is essential the government of Rwanda protects the rights to freedom of expression and association, including for opposition politicians and ends the current climate of harassment and intimidation they face.”
Ingabire returned to Rwanda to launch an opposition political movement in 2010 after 16 years exile in the Netherlands. She was jailed before she could contest the election and served six of a 15 year sentence on terrorism charges, she says were politically motivated to block any challenge to Kagame.
A spokesman for Rwanda’s investigation bureau declined to comment when asked if Dusabumuremyi’s killing was politically motivated.
“That one you can ask politicians. We do investigations and are investigating,” spokesman Modeste Mbabazi said.
The bureau said on Twitter: “During preliminary investigations, two people suspected of murder were arrested. The investigation continues to identify the killers and their motives.”