Rwandan opposition leader says murder politically motivated

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — A leading Rwandan opposition leader asserted Tuesday that the deadly attack on her party’s national coordinator was politically motivated.

Victoire Ingabire spoke to The Associated Press after Syridio Dusabumuremyi was attacked at his office Monday night by two men.

“This is too much,” she said, adding that several deaths and disappearances of her FDU-Inkingi party members remain unresolved. She urged the government of President Paul Kagame to protect all Rwandans.

“He has to understand that opposition members are also part of the Rwandan population that needs to be protected,” she said.

The Rwanda Investigation Bureau said it has launched investigations into the murder of the 42-year-old Dusabumuremyi and arrested two suspects. The father of two ran a canteen at a health center in the district of Muhanga.

Ingabire said the attacks are meant to silence members of FDU-Inkingi, a coalition of opposition parties that has not been allowed to register with the government.

In March, close aide Anselme Mutuyimana was found dead and the party called it murder. In July, party member Eugene Ndereyimana went missing. And in October, senior party member Boniface Twagirimana disappeared from a high-security prison where he had been held for five days following a transfer from another facility.

Twenty-five years after a genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Rwanda’s president has won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery. But Kagame has faced criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media and suppression of political opposition. He denies the accusations.

The killing of Dusabumuremyi “is extremely alarming. It’s all the more troubling that it follows numerous suspicious attacks,” Amnesty International’s director for East Africa, Joan Nyanyuki, said in a statement that called for an effective, independent investigation into the death and “the other FDU-Inkingi members who have been found dead or who have disappeared without a trace.”

Ingabire last year was released from prison after serving eight years of a 15-year sentence on charges that included collaborating with a terrorist organization and “genocide ideology.” She had returned to Rwanda to contest the 2010 presidential election after years of living abroad but was barred from running.

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