Senior politician found hacked to death in Rwanda
Thursday 15 July 2010
The deputy leader of Rwanda's Green Party was found murdered yesterday amid a crackdown against opposition organisations before next month's presidential elections.
Andre Kagwa Rwisereka's body was found in the early hours on a riverbank, a couple of miles from his abandoned pick-up truck. His head was nearly severed and a large knife was found nearby. The murder followed complaints by senior party officials of death threats, police harassment and intimidation.
Police said Mr Rwisereka, a politician and businessman, was carrying a large sum of money before he was attacked and said that they were investigating a suspected robbery case. However his party said they did not believe he was carrying any money when he died and that the motive behind the killing was unclear.
The Independent reported in March that party leader Frank Habineza had received a series of death threats, police had broken up party meetings and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda had been barred from registering or putting up candidates for the election. The threats against Mr Habineza culminated in one newspaper front page headlined: "Frank Habineza to be killed in 60 days." The report cited anonymous sources claiming security agents would target the politician.
The party first reported Mr Rwisereka missing early on Tuesday and his vehicle was found in wetlands near the Mukula river close to the southern city of Butare. His body was found early yesterday.
"His head was almost completely removed from his body. His brother Antoine Haguma confirms seeing the dead body," Mr Habineza said in a statement.
"I'm very scared because ... I've received death threats [saying] I was supposed to be killed before the election," Mr Habineza, a former politician for President Paul Kagame's ruling party, told Reuters. "My vice president is now dead, I'm very scared."
A day after Mr Habineza was threatened in February, a leading member of another opposition group was beaten by a mob in front of a government office. Rights groups said other parties have been targeted and the Kagame government has sought to stamp out opposition and critical media before the vote.
Human Rights Watch said a number of opposition party activists, including two rival party leaders, had been arrested in the past weeks. One leader remains in custody. "The opposition parties have been having a really hard time," said Carina Tertsakian, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. "There's been a real crackdown in the last few months and it's been getting worse in the last few weeks. None of the three opposition parties have been able to put forward candidates."
The killings included the shooting of a journalist in the capital Kigali. His colleague was the victim of an attempted killing in neighbouring Uganda.
The newspaper, which had been banned, published an article online on the day that the journalist was killed which alleged that the government was behind the attempted murder of a former Rwandan general.
General Kayumba Nyamwasa, once a close ally of President Paul Kagame, was an increasingly outspoken critic but fled to South Africa and exile after falling out with the regime. The newspaper had alleged that the journalist was investigating the murder attempt and had reported being under increased surveillance before his death.
The government has denied a role in the attacks and said it has accepted opposing views since the 1994 genocide.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 2 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
- 5 Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...