Rwanda

  1. Rwandan troops kill 14 militants in Mozambique operation

    Rwandan soldiers during their deployment to Mozambique
    Image caption: Rwanda deployed 1,000 troops to help Mozambique in the fight against militants

    Rwandan forces killed 14 militants during their recent operations in Mozambique, an army spokesperson has said.

    One Rwandan soldier was injured in one of the missions but is recovering well.

    The operations were launched in different areas of the north between 24 and 28 June.

    The coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia was seized by Islamist militant fighters a year ago.

    Rwanda deployed 1,000 soldiers to Mozambique to help in the fight against militants.

    Other African countries are in the process of deploying their troops.

    The Rwandan forces were reported to have helped the Mozambican army retake a base from the Islamist militants earlier this week.

    The conflict, which began in 2017, has forced hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans from their homes and has caused the shut-down of a multi-billion dollar gas project.

  2. Rwanda genocide suspect extradited from Netherlands

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    The Netherlands has extradited to Rwanda a 72-year-old suspect accused of complicity in the 1994 genocide.

    Venant Rutunga was immediately taken into custody after he left a Dutch plane that arrived in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, on Monday night.

    In a statement, Rwanda’s state prosecutor commended the Dutch authorities for “contributing to the global effort to fight impunity”.

    Mr Rutunga was arrested in the Netherlands in 2019 on an arrest warrant issued by Rwanda.

    He fought against his extradition but lost the legal battle in May.

    The authorities in Rwanda accuse Mr Rutunga of orchestrating the killing of around 1,000 people from the Tutsi ethnic group when he served as a state agricultural officer in the southern part of the country.

  3. Rwanda extends Covid lockdown

    A health worker screens passengers at a bus station
    Image caption: Public transport has been suspended during the lockdown

    Rwanda has extended a lockdown that prohibits unnecessary movements in the capital Kigali and eight other districts as it analyses the Covid situation.

    People will still not be able to leave their houses for another five days.

    The current lockdown had seen businesses, schools and transport operators close to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

    Only 15 people are allowed to attend burials as Covid-related fatalities increase.

    The extension has been announced for another five days after which a review will be done to determine the gains.

  4. The Giver of Nicknames

    Video content

    Video caption: Rwandan-born Rémy Ngamije is shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing

    Rwandan-born Rémy Ngamije is shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

  5. Rwanda announces new lockdown as Covid cases spike

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A woman receives Covid vaccine at Masaka Hospital in Kigali, on 5 March 2021.
    Image caption: More than 400,000 people have been vaccinated in Rwanda

    The Rwandan government has announced a 10-day lockdown in the capital, Kigali, and eight other districts amid a rising number of Covid cases and deaths.

    People have been ordered not to leave their homes from Saturday 17 July until Monday 26 July to try to halt the virus spread.

    Businesses, the civil service, transport, schools, sports and the entertainment sector will all close and only 15 people will be able to attend burials.

    People will only be allowed to step out of their houses for essential services, or if they are essential workers.

    The last four weeks have seen record numbers of cases - with nearly 1,000 per day - and the last seven days being the deadliest.

    Health officials say the fast-spreading and deadlier Delta variant is behind the spike.

    Rwanda has recorded more than 50,000 Covid cases and over 600 deaths. More than 400,000 people have been vaccinated.

  6. Rwanda students sit for national exams amid Covid wave

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    More than 250,000 primary school students in Rwanda have started taking their national exams as the country deals with a new wave of Covid-19.

    Students who test positive for coronavirus will sit for the examinations in separate rooms, the education ministry has said.

    Education Minister Valentine Uwamariya was quoted by the state broadcaster as saying that no cases had been reported so far amongst learners.

    However, the ministry said those who will test positive for Covid-19 must be accompanied by a parent or carer to the exam centre.

    A local news site shared pictures of the candidates:

    View more on twitter

    Education authorities have set up 1,021 examination centres across the country, almost 100 more from last year, to allow social distancing.

    Rwandan health officials confirmed the presence of the Delta variant last week.

    The country has been reporting an average of 800 new cases daily in the last four weeks.

    The health minister said more critical cases and fatalities were being recorded in this new wave.

  7. Rwanda re-opens Covid treatment centres as cases rise

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A medical worker injects a second dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine to a patient in a Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccination centre in Kigali
    Image caption: Official says low vaccination levels could be a reason for the surge

    Rwanda has re-opened Covid treatment centres after a surge in cases and they are now all full, according to the health minister.

    In the last two weeks, the country has recorded nearly 1,000 new cases daily.

    There are concerns about the Delta variant that has been found in neighbouring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    “There are more critically ill patients and more deaths, numbers are increasing…we have never been here before in this pandemic,” Health Minister Dr Tharcisse Mpunga told the state broadcaster.

    Dr Mpunga said the causes of the new surge include low vaccination rates as around just 3% of the population have had the jab.

    He also mentioned the movement of people across the border after DR Congo's Mount Nyiragongo erupted in May as a possible reason for the surge.

    In the last week, the health ministry reported 60 deaths from the virus.

    The authorities have introduced strict measures whereby businesses are ordered to close at 17:00 local time and a night curfew starts at 18:00.

    Schools, churches and bars, are all closed.

  8. Friendly visits helps thaw Burundi-Rwanda tensions

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Rwanda's prime minister has visited Bujumbura to cerebrate the 59th anniversary of Burundi’s independence in a significant move to normalise the two countries’ relations after six years of tensions.

    Burundi and Rwandan authorities fell out in May 2015 as the former accused the latter of a hand in a foiled coup against the late president Pierre Nkurunziza.

    Both countries’ social media users welcomed the presence of Rwanda’s PM Edouard Ngirente in Burundi as a mark of political will to end the dispute.

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    Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi have recently expressed their wishes to end hostilities, that included military confrontations.

    Cross-border trade and the movement of people were hugely affected by the row that now looks to be easing after six years.

  9. Extradited driver sentenced to 25 years for genocide

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Jean-Claude Iyamuremye
    Image caption: Jean-Claude Iyamuremye's trial has lasted five years

    A man extradited to Rwanda from the Netherlands has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for genocide crimes committed when he was 19.

    During Jean-Claude Iyamuremye’s five-year trial, he denied involvement in the 1994 genocide when around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days by Hutu extremists.

    The high court judge said Iyamuremye had been a member of a youth militia that hunted and killed members of the Tutsi community in his neighbourhood in the capital, Kigali.

    The 45-year-old defended himself, saying his own mother was a Tutsi.

    The judge said he could have sentenced Iyamuremye to life, but had decided not to as he was “so young” when the crimes were committed and he had also saved some Tutsi families.

    Iyamuremye was arrested in 2013 in the Netherlands, where he had worked as a driver for staff at the Israeli and Finnish embassies.

    He was sent back to Rwanda by the Dutch authorities in 2016.

  10. WTO head hails planned vaccine hubs in Africa

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

    The head of the World Trade Organization says Africa is working with the European Union and other partners to create regional hubs to produce vaccines.

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said facilities would be established in South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda. Nigeria is also being considered.

    She said the over-centralisation of vaccine production was incompatible with equitable access, especially during a health crisis.

    French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "delighted" by the news, saying the South Africa hub was going to be the first of many, news agency AFP reports.

    Africa is facing a major shortage of coronavirus jabs. The United Nations has urged countries that can to donate surplus supplies to the continent.

  11. Hotel Rwanda hero could be jailed for life

    Vivienne Nunis

    BBC News

    Paul Rusesabagina being escorted by officers to court
    Image caption: Paul Rusesabagina is facing terrorism charges in Rwanda

    The man portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide could face a life sentence in jail for alleged terrorism offences.

    Prosecutors accuse Paul Rusesabagina of directing deadly rebel attacks from abroad in recent years.

    The attacks were carried out by the National Liberation Front, an opposition group he was involved with while abroad. They’ve called for a life sentence plus 170 years in jail.

    His has denied the charges against him.

    Mr Rusesabagina well known after he was depicted in Hotel Rwanda, Hollywood’s take on the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

    His character tries to save hundreds of ethnic Tutsis while working as a hotel manager.

    Mr Rusesabagina later left Rwanda, becoming a fierce critic of President Paul Kagame.

    But last year while visiting Dubai he says he was tricked into boarding a flight to Kigali.

    Mr Rusesabagina denies the nine terrorism-related charges against him and pulled out of the trial in March, saying he “was not expecting justice” from the court.

  12. Rwanda fears Covid lockdown as cases spike

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Rwandas Minister of Health and doctor Daniel Ngamije receives the first injection of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Masaka Hospital in Kigali
    Image caption: Nearly 390,000 people have been vaccinated

    Rwanda's health ministry is reporting a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths despite ongoing vaccination efforts days after President Paul Kagame warned there could be a "new lockdown".

    Over the weekend, the president urged people to be more cautious, saying there were signs that a third wave could come from the border - a reference to Uganda where cases are also rising.

    New infections in Rwanda have risen to 1,307 in the last seven days from 334 in the previous week, while deaths rose to 12 from seven in the same period, the health ministry reports.

    Nearly 390,000 people have so far been vaccinated - and most of those have had their second jabs.

    Health Minister Daniel Ngamije says nearly five million more vaccines are expected and more have been ordered.

    “Our target is to reach 7.8 million people vaccinated early next year,” he told the state broadcaster.

    “People should observe the measures so that in the next six months we may resume normal life because at 60% vaccination the virus can’t be a threat anymore."

    Rwanda has reported a total of more than 28,000 cases and 372 deaths.

  13. Fears for Rwandan fugitive arrested in Mozambique

    BBC Great Lakes

    Cassien Ntamuhanga
    Image caption: Before his arrest and escape, Cassien Ntamuhanga used to run the Amazing Grace radio station in Kigali

    Fears are growing that a Rwandan journalist who sought asylum in Mozambique may have been illegally deported back home.

    Cassien Ntamuhanga, who had sought safety in the southern African country after escaping from prison in Rwanda in 2017, was detained on 23 May on Inhaca Island off the coast of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

    The 39-year-old used to run a Christian radio station in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, that was not afraid to criticise government policies.

    In 2014 he was arrested and later convicted of terrorism offences and sentenced to 25 years in prison - on what he says were trumped up charges.

    He famously escaped from a high-security jail in central Rwanda three and a half years ago - and during his time in Mozambique has set up a political movement in exile, the Rwandan Alliance for the National Pact (RANP).

    Earlier in May, he was sentenced in absentia to another 25 years in prison for allegedly planning terror attacks on Rwanda.

    “We are still trying all ways to be in touch with Cassien. Unfortunately, nothing yet,” his lawyer in Maputo, Simao Henrique Buque, has told the BBC.

    After his detention in May, the media in Rwanda reported that he was likely to be deported.

    Cléophas Habiyaremye, the Rwandan refugees’ representative in Mozambique, says this would be illegal as Rwanda and Mozambique have no extradition treaty.

    “In this case it is a decision to be taken by courts, and not police,” he told the BBC, adding that the journalist was still a registered asylum seeker.

    Rwanda’s ambassador to Mozambique, Claude Nikobisanzwe, has dismissed allegations by the RANP that the Rwandan government has been involved in Mr Ntamuhanga’s recent arrest.

    He told the private paper Canal de Mocambique such accusations were “fake news”.

    The police in Mozambique have not yet responded to the BBC’s request for comment.

    A number of prominent government critics have been killed in and outside Rwanda in recent years and others jailed. The government has denied involvement in their deaths.

    Kizito Mihigo
    Image caption: Popular gospel singer Kizito Mihigo was arrested with Cassien Ntamuhanga in 2014

    Mr Ntamuhanga was arrested in 2014 alongside gospel singer Kizito Mihigo, who was given a 10-year sentence. The pair had often put on shows together and other Christian events.

    Kizito, as he was popularly known, had drawn ire for a song that suggested that everyone killed during the 1994 genocide should be remembered whether they were ethnic Hutus or Tutsis.

    The singer was pardoned by the president in 2018, but was arrested two years later for allegedly trying to leave the country illegally and was found dead in his cell a few days later.

    A government investigation found he had taken his own life, but many dispute this.

  14. Rwanda senior rebel arrested at child's baptism

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A senior member of Rwanda's Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) was arrested in a church while attending his child's baptism, the group's spokesperson has said.

    Col Augustin Nshimiyimana was captured in DR Congo’s North Kivu province.

    He was the groups's deputy head of intelligence between 2011 and 2019.

    Col Nshimiyimana was taken last week by armed men in civilian attire in Masisi Territory, the FDLR's Cure Ngoma told the BBC.

    Mr Ngoma says they believe this operation was carried out by Rwandan forces in disguise and co-operation with DR Congo’s army.

    Rwandan authorities have denied presence of Rwandan troops on Congolese soil.

    The North Kivu and Ituri province are currently under martial law to allow the army to stop violence and hunt on rebel movements in the region.

    Mr Ngoma believes the "state of siege" in the provinces is “a new battle” that their group “shall survive”.

    In DR Congo, the FDLR has been accused of recruiting child soldiers, rape and systematic looting, while Rwandan government accuse its members of role in 1994 genocide.

    The FDLR spokesperson refute the allegations saying that they want change in Rwanda through negotiations, what the Rwandan side has called “impossible”.

  15. Daughter's concern for jailed Kagame critic

    Video content

    Video caption: Paul Rusesabagina says he's been told he won't be given food, water or medicine

    Paul Rusesabagina says he's been told he won't be given food, water or medicine. His daughter says it's an attempt to force him to cooperate with his trial

  16. Life resumes in Rwanda's volcano-hit district

    Yves Bucyana

    BBC Swahili

    Mount Nyirangongo erupting
    Image caption: Some say the government's failing to help them rebuild their lives after the devastation

    A sense of normalcy is returning to a Rwandan district ravaged by volcanic activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo two weeks ago.

    The volcanic eruption in Mount Nyiragogo killed 32 people and destroyed hundreds of homes in DR Congo's Goma area. It was followed by a series of earth tremors in the neighbouring regions including Rubavu in Rwanda.

    Many residents fled after their homes and properties - as well as infrastructure - were destroyed.

    In Rubavu, businesses have now started reopening. Schools and hospitals - which had also been shut in the wake of the volcanic activities - have restarted operations.

    Some of the residents have however been complaining about lack of government assistance to rebuild their livelihoods.

    Sibomana Ibrahim told the BBC that he was forced to move his parents after their houses collapsed.

    "We rented a house in Amakoro after our four houses collapsed. I had to remain here to guard our property, I'm now removing soil and debris from the house.

    "We have had no assistance from the government, except for food. They told us to wait, I don't know for how long we'll have to wait," he said.

    Niyoyita Zakia said she moved to the capital Kigali and later returned to Rubavu and was now living in a friend's house. She said it was difficult providing for herself and her eight children.

    The authorities in Rubavu have said all those affected will get help but have not indicated what form this will be.

  17. Community activist falls to his death in Rwanda

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Bukuru Ntwari
    Image caption: An investigation has been launched as Bukuru Ntwari's family says he was murdered

    Bukuru Ntwari, a campaigner against threats to Banyamulenge people living in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has died after falling from a commercial building in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, his family has said.

    His death on Wednesday morning was widely reported as suspected suicide by local media.

    However family members have told the BBC that they suspect "a pre-planned murder of our lead voice", one close relative to Mr Ntwari said.

    Rwanda’s investigation bureau said it has launched a probe into the death.

    Mr Ntwari, a lawyer, had been an outspoken advocate against "killings of Banyamulenge" in their home region of DR Congo’s South Kivu province. He called it "genocide".

    Several ethnically linked armed groups fighting each other in that region are accused of attacks against groups that live in the mountainous region.

    Some are reportedly backed by the govennments of either Burundi or Rwanda, which the countries’ authorities have denied.