Rwanda arrests opposition officials, journalist for ‘spreading rumours’

RWANDA authorities have arrested six people including a journalist and members of an opposition party accused of publishing rumours allegedly intended to spark an uprising, the investigation bureau said on Thursday.

Theoneste Nsengimana who runs Umubavu TV, an online channel that often airs content critical of the government, was among those arrested, said Rwanda Investigation Bureau spokesperson Thierry Murangira.

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“They are accused of publication of rumours intended to cause uprising or unrest among the population,” he said.

“They have commonality, they are an organised group with the intention to spread rumours intended to cause uprising or unrest among the population using different social media platforms.”

Nsengimana’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Others arrested include members and supporters of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire.

“Members of DALFA-Umurinzi arrested again: We request RIB to ensure their rights are respected. We have not yet been informed the reasons behind their arrest,” Ingabire said on Twitter.

A Twitter post by Victoire Ingabire

On Tuesday, Nsengimana had posted on his YouTube channel a woman urging people to celebrate on “Ingabire day” on Thursday to honour opposition figures who have been jailed, kidnapped and killed.

Critics say that Rwandan authorities have been cracking down on critical YouTube channels including one owned by former university lecturer Aimable Karasira, who was arrested in June and charged with denying the 1994 genocide.

He denied the charge.

Critics have accused President Paul Kagame’s government of human rights abuses although it has had support from Western donors for restoring stability in the years after the genocide, and boosting economic growth.

Kagame denies accusations of abuse. – Reuters

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