The Rwanda government led by President Paul Kagame has denied involvement in the murder of a Rwandan journalist whose newspaper was suspended for six months for criticizing the government.
Rwanda’s Police Spokesperson, Eric Kayiranga confirmed that Jean Leonard Rugambage, the acting editor of Umuvugizi newspaper, was shot by two men who then fled in a car.
The Editor of the local Kinyarwanda newspaper who is currently exiled in Uganda, Jean Bosco Gasasira accused the Rwandan government of masterminding the murder, saying it happened after Rugambage wrote a story about President Kagame’s alleged involvement in the attempted murder of Lt. General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa. Nyamwasa fled Rwanda after falling out with former comrade kagame. The government accuses him of masterminding grenade attacks in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, but he has instead accused the government of Paul Kagame of corruption.
The Umuvugizi which is currently published on a website, in an article dated June 24, reported telephone calls between an intelligence chief in Kigali, Emmanuel Ndahiro, and “Rwandan citizens arrested in South Africa after the attempt”.
The website on Friday ran another article blaming Kagame for allegedly murdering their deputy boss Rugambage , illustrating the article with a picture of Kagame dressed as Adolf Hitler.
But Rwanda government issued a statement Friday denying any involvement by Kagame or any government official in the murder and the attempted murder of Gen. Nyamwasa.
But pressure is mounting on the Rwanda Authorities to ensure quick and independent investigations into the murder of the journalist, the first such case since 1998.
Reporters Without Borders on Friday called on the French authorities and the European Union delegation in Kigali to ensure that an independent inquiry into this homicide is undertaken”.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded full investigation into the murder of Rugambage. The body says the murder of the Rwanda journalist will fuel a climate of fear among the press ahead of the Rwanda Presidential elections scheduled for August 9 2010.
Kagame largely loved abroad as a model African leader is facing the fiercest opposition ahead of Rwanda’s second election since he took over in 1994 after he led a rebellion that ousted the government of Habyarimana that was blamed for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.