Rwandan President’s Rival Worried After 2nd Aide Killed This Year

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire believes that Sylidio Dusabumuremyi’s murder was part of an attempt to stop her party gaining official recognition. In this May 16, 2010 photo, Ingabire is seen at her home in Kigali, Rwanda. (AP Photo: Jason Straziuso)

Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire said that she believes the murder of a senior official in her party was an attempt by President Paul Kagame to intimidate opponents.

Sylidio Dusabumuremyi, the national coordinator of the FDU-Inkingi party, was stabbed to death on Sept. 23 by two unidentified attackers at his workplace, a canteen at a health center in southern Rwanda, according to Reuters.

Ingabire, a prominent critic of Kagame’s administration, said the attack was aimed at intimidating her party members.

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“It is clear that it is intimidation against opposition members. They want to prevent me from creating an opposition party,” Ingabire told Reuters.

“This killing has no other implications other than intimidating Rwandans from participating in politics of their country,” she said. “It is time to ask security services to do something about those killings and protect the opposition members as all Rwandans.”

Authorities in Rwanda say that they have made two arrests connected to the murder and will continue investigations to determine a motive.

Second aide killed in Rwanda

Dusabumuremyi’s murder was not an isolated incident. He was the second of Ingabire’s aides to be killed in 2019.

In March, the body of Ingabire’s spokesman, Anselme Mutuyimana, was found in a forest in the western part of the country. Two other members of the Rwandan opposition party have been reported missing this year and have yet to be found.

Ingabire returned to Rwanda to launch an opposition party in 2010 after 16 years in exile in the Netherlands, TheGuardian reports.

She was jailed before she could be involved in the election and served six years of a 15-year sentence on terrorism charges, which she says were politically motivated by Kagame’s government.

While Kagame is praised for the economic and social development strides made in Rwanda 25 years after the country’s brutal genocide of 800,000 people, he is also feared by many. Critics accuse him of authoritarian and malicious leadership.

Reacting to the killing of Dusabumuremyi, rights group Amnesty International said in a statement: “It is essential that 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.”