1. Female referees to take charge and make Afcon history

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Salima Mukansanga
    Image caption: Salima Mukansanga is a nurse turned football referee

    An all-women team are set to make history at the Africa Cup of Nations when they officiate in the Group B game between Zimbabwe and Guinea.

    Rwanda's Salima Mukansanga will be the first female main referee to ever officiate at a game in this tournament.

    She will be assisted by Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon), Fatiha Jermoumi (Maroc) and VAR referee Bouchra Karboubi (Maroc).

    “Everyone here is eager to see this game, especially with this new history being written,” says the BBC’s Yves Bucyana in Cameroon's capital, Yaoundé.

    On 10 January, Mukansanga became the first woman to officiate at a game in the tournament when she was the fourth official in the game between Guinea and Malawi.

    The nurse turned football referee has been trending on social media back home in Rwanda.

    Eddy Maillet, head of referees at the Confederation of African Football (Caf), has described the upcoming game as a “historic moment”.

    “We know that for a woman, she has had to overcome serious obstacles to reach this level and she deserves a lot of credit,” Caf online quoted him as saying.

  2. DR Congo expels Rwandans escaping Covid jabs

    Didier Bikorimana

    BBC Great Lakes Service

    Stock image of a vaccine needle
    Image caption: Some Rwandans have been moving across the border to avoid mandatory Covid vaccination

    Nearly 100 Rwandans who fled to an island in Lake Kivu in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to avoid getting Covid jabs have been repatriated to their country.

    Two people are however said to be missing from the group of 101 Rwandans and a search operation is underway.

    An official of Idjwi Island, Roger Ntambuka, told the BBC that the authorities were able to negotiate with the Rwandans to return home.

    "There was no reason for these Rwandans to remain here. We were able to persuade them," he said.

    He said the Rwandans, who comprised women, men and children, left for home in a boat.

    The governor of Rwanda’s western province said he had no knowledge of the fleeing Rwandans and it’s not clear if authorities were involved in their repatriation.

    Last week Burundian authorities expelled more than 10 Rwandans who had entered the country to escape mandatory vaccination back home.

    Rwandans must be vaccinated to be allowed to use public transport, go to bars and restaurants or to attend public events.

  3. Rwanda lifts ban on concerts

    A laboratory technician processes samples for testing the Covid-19 virus in Rwanda
    Image caption: Rwanda banned concerts in December after a rise in Covid cases

    Rwanda has lifted a ban on concerts under its new coronavirus regulations.

    The ban was effected in December after a rise in Covid-19 cases attributed to the Omicron variant.

    The cabinet has resolved that concert organisers must seek permission 10 days before the event.

    The concert tickets will be sold online and the recommended capacity is 50% for indoor venues and 75% for outdoor.

    Those attending concerts must show proof of vaccination.

    Theatres and cinema halls have also been allowed to reopen with 50% capacity.

  4. Rwanda to continue fight against militants in Mozambique

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Rwandan soldiers patrol in Afungi near the Total complex, Cabo Delgado, on September 22, 2021
    Image caption: More than 800,000 people have been displaced in Mozambique as a result of the jihadist violence that began in 2017

    Rwandan troops are to continue the fight against Islamist militants in Mozambique, following an agreement between the two countries to extend their mandate.

    Around 1,000 troops were sent by Rwanda last July at a time when jihadists were carrying out widespread attacks and seizing towns in the northern Cabo Delgado province.

    The deployment led to some success against the militants but attacks and kidnappings are still frequent, correspondents say.

    Thirty hostages were rescued this week in Nangade district, authorities in Mozambique say, thanks to a joint operation by the army and troops from other southern African countries.

  5. Meet Afcon's first female referee

    Salima Mukansanga is set to make history at this year's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon, by becoming the first woman to referee at the men's tournament.

    The 33-year-old Rwandan is expected to make her officiating debut in the coming days.

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    In the past she has presided over matches in the Fifa Women’s World Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) Women’s Champions League - as well as umpiring for the top men's teams in her home country.

    Rwandan media report that as a teenager Ms Mukansanga dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player, but opted to become a football referee 15 years ago.

  6. Burundi expels Rwandans for refusing Covid jabs

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Twelve Rwandans including women and children have been pushed out by Burundian authorities after refusing to get the Covid jab.

    They spent more than five days on the Nyakarama hill in Kirundo province in northern Burundi.

    They said they had fled the ongoing mandatory vaccination campaign in Rwanda.

    The provincial governor, Albert Hatungimana, directed that they be deported to Rwanda.

    Last Thursday, nine other Rwandan nationals were repatriated to their country by the authorities in the province. They had also fled the mandatory vaccination campaign.

    In a security meeting, the governor signalled on Tuesday that he could not welcome people who do not adhere to the government's Covid-19 response programme.

    He said everyone had to get vaccinated so as to be allowed to stay in the country.

  7. Banana-made brew kills 11 in Rwanda - officials

    Jean Claude Mwambutsa

    BBC Great Lakes, Kigali

    Banana tree in Rwanda

    Eleven people have died in Rwanda's south eastern district of Bugesera since Christmas Day after drinking a local brew made from bananas, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has confirmed.

    Four other are reported to be in hospital for treatment.

    High levels of methanol, found in the stomachs of victims who drank the brew, could be linked to the deaths, according to the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority.

    Five people have been arrested, including the brewery's owner, the RIB has confirmed.

    The brewery was operating without a licence, and its operations have been suspended, the RIB added

    A countrywide campaign has been launched to clamp down on unauthorized local brews.

  8. Niger suspends order to expel high-profile Rwandans

    Didier Bikorimana

    BBC Great Lakes Service

    Niger has temporarily suspended an order to expel eight high-profile Rwandans relocated there from Tanzania, allowing them to remain in the country for 30 days, pending a resolution.

    They were political and military officials during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and had either been acquitted or released after serving their prison terms.

    The move came hours after the seven-day deadline they had been given to leave Niger expired.

    They relocated to Niger after the government there cut a deal with the United Nations in November to grant them permanent residence status, with Rwanda later saying it had been kept in the dark.

    It urged Niger to ensure the individuals don’t become a threat to the security of the Great Lakes region.

    Then in December, Niger decided to expel them, citing “diplomatic reasons”– prompting a move from an International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) judge to temporarily halt this action.

    Rwanda maintains the eight are welcome back home, but one of them, former intelligence officer Innocent Sagahutu, told BBC Great Lakes last week they do not want to return to Rwanda, fearing for their safety.

  9. Rwanda ex-driver jailed for role in genocide

    BBC World Service

    Franco-Rwandan former hotel driver Claude Muhayimana arrives at the Paris courthouse for his trial
    Image caption: Claude Muhayimana worked as a driver at a hotel in western Rwanda

    A court in Paris has found a French-Rwandan man, Claude Muhayimana, guilty of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity during the massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

    It sentenced him to 14 years in jail.

    Claude Muhayimana worked as a driver at a hotel in western Rwanda and was accused of transporting Interahamwe Hutu militia to various locations where Tutsis were killed.

    He denied the charges.

    He was married to a Tutsi woman at the time and investigators also said he had hidden some Tutsis at risk of death and helped some flee.

  10. Rwanda confirms six cases of Omicron Covid variant

    Rwanda has confirmed six cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

    It said the cases were detected in samples collected from travellers and their contacts, according to a statement from the health ministry.

    It emphasised the need for all people aged 12 and above to get fully vaccinated and those aged 18 and above to consider getting a booster vaccine.

    The announcement was shared on Twitter:

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    Rwanda has fully vaccinated about 40% of its population and recently started issuing booster shots.

  11. More asylum seekers arrive in Rwanda from Libya

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    The seventh batch of 176 asylum seekers  have arrived in Rwansa
    Image caption: The asylum seekers are mostly from the Horn of Africa countries

    The seventh batch of 176 asylum seekers evacuated from Libya have arrived in Rwanda, the ministry of emergency has said.

    The new arrivals include 102 Eritrean nationals, 62 Sudanese, five Somalis, four South Sudanese and three Ethiopians.

    They are being housed by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the Rwandan government in a transit centre located in a town 40km (25 miles) south of the capital, Kigali.

    In total, 648 asylum seekers mostly from the Horn of Africa countries have been transferred to Rwanda from Libya since September 2019.

    Of these, 462 have been resettled to Sweden, Canada, Norway, France and Belgium.

    The UN refugee agency says more than 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers, including hundreds of children, are stranded in different parts of Libya hoping to make it to Europe.

    Almost 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been evacuated or resettled out of Libya since 2017, the UN says.

  12. Rwanda ex-prison director jailed for stealing

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Innocent Kayumba
    Image caption: Innocent Kayumba was sentenced on Friday evening

    A Rwandan court has sentenced to five years in prison a former director of Kigali's main prison for stealing money from a British inmate.

    Innocent Kayumba, who was sentenced on Friday evening alongside his former deputy Eric Ntakirutimana, has appealed against the judgement, a court document shows.

    The court acquitted an IT specialist inmate who used his skills to hack the victim’s Visa card after telling the court that he was forced by the prison director to do so.

    He said he was asked to "decode" the card kept by the prison authorities after they realised that the bank account linked to it had a large sum of money.

    A British-Egyptian inmate had told the court that more than £7,000 ($9,300) was taken away from his account using his card last year without his knowledge.

    The court ruled that Mr Kayumba and his deputy conspired to the theft while the IT specialist was coerced to work for them, hence found not guilty.

    Mr Kayumba, a senior military officer, was transferred to the prison services in 2014, heading a prison in western Rwanda before moving to the capital’s main prison.

    He was arrested early this year.

  13. Rwanda activists push for Koffi Olomidé concert ban

    Congolese singer Koffi Olomide performs on stage
    Image caption: Koffi Olomidé is set to perform in Kigali on Saturday

    A group of Rwandan activists have demanded the cancellation of Congolese musician Koffi Olomidé's concert scheduled for Saturday in the capital, Kigali.

    They are citing the musician's 2019 conviction by a court in France for statutory rape of one of his former dancers when she was 15.

    In a statement, the activists said allowing the Congolese star to perform at the concert "violates commitments Rwanda has made to achieve gender equality and ending violence against women and girls".

    The group is composed of 29 organisations involved in campaigns against gender violence in Rwanda.

    The concert organisers said they were “not in a position to pronounce ourselves on the moral and criminal allegations” and promised “an entertaining event”.

    Olomidé is a huge star of rumba and soukous which are popular across much of Africa.

    He received the AFRIMA legend award during the All Africa Music Awards in Lagos last month.

    He has been in trouble with the law several times before, including assaulting one of his dancers in Kenya in 2016 and allegedly assaulting a photographer in Zambia in 2018.

  14. Rwanda to start giving Covid booster jabs

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC health reporter, Nairobi

    A man receives coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine as part of the vaccination campaign for health workers and people over 65 years old at Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda on March 05, 2021
    Image caption: Third doses will be given to those who are over the age of 50

    Rwanda’s health ministry has announced that it will start giving third doses to the elderly and those who have underlying conditions starting on Tuesday.

    The ministry says the implementation will be done in phases and will begin in the capital, Kigali.

    Rwanda’s minister of state in charge of primary healthcare says third doses will be given to those who are over the age of 50.

    Those between 30 and 50 will only get the extra shot if they have an underlying condition.

    The World Health Organization says this group should get an additional jab, as they are at higher risk of infections after their first vaccines.

    Health workers are also eligible for the third dose.

    Out of a population of about 13 million people, more than three million Rwandans have been fully jabbed to date.

  15. Endangered white rhinos transferred to Rwanda

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Image caption: The relocation was the largest operation of its kind, Rwanda officials say

    Thirty white rhinos have been introduced in Rwanda's Akagera National Park from South Africa, to create a secure new breeding stronghold for them, officials have said.

    The 3,400km (2,100 mile) relocation from Phinda Private Game Reserve is the largest operation of its kind in history, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said in a statement.

    “This is timely for the conservation of these incredibly threatened species,” Ariella Kageruka, RDB chief tourism officer, told journalists on Monday.

    A dedicated team will monitor the rhinos daily and a specialist veterinarian will oversee their acclimation, RDB announced.

    With Rwanda’s ambitions to become a major tourism destination, Akagera National Park in the eastern region saw the reintroduction of lions in 2015 and black rhinos in 2017 and 2019.

  16. Rwanda suspends flights to southern Africa states

    A medical worker injects a second dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine to a patient in a Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccination centre in Kigali, on 27 May, 2021.
    Image caption: Rwanda has introduced restrictions for travellers from southern African countries

    The government in Rwanda has announced new measures that include the suspension of flights to and from southern African countries.

    All arriving passengers must have a negative test and do a repeat test on arrival and seven days after arriving into the country.

    A seven-day quarantine has also been reintroduced for travellers coming from countries recently affected by the new waves.

    All those attending gatherings like weddings and funerals must be fully vaccinated.

    Following the government directives on travel, the national carrier Rwandair has halted services to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia:

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    Rwanda is the latest country to impose a travel ban to South Africa after a new coronavirus variant Omicron was detected in the country.

    South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was "deeply disappointed" by the bans against his country and neighbouring states where the variant has been detected.

  17. Rwandan rights activists want Olomide concert cancelled

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Koffi Olomide

    Women’s rights activists in Rwanda are demanding that a concert featuring Congolese music star Koffi Olomide should be cancelled over the rape and sexual assault charges he is facing in a French court.

    A court in Paris is due to rule next month on his appeal against being found guilty of assaulting four of his dancers.

    Juliette Karitanyi, an activist in Kigali, has said that allowing Olomide to perform in Rwanda would be “disrespectful to sexual violence victims”.

    “It hurts me further that we are allowing him to perform here while today Rwanda has launched the 16 days of activism to stop gender-based violence,” she told the BBC.

    The concert organisers did not want to make a comment when contacted by the BBC.

    But some commenters on social media have said that there is no legal basis to stop the 4 December performance going ahead.

  18. Covid: Kenya and Rwanda begin vaccinating children

    Dorcas Wangira

    Africa health correspondent

    A man receives coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine as part of the vaccination campaign for health workers and people over 65 years old at Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda
    Image caption: Rwanda has the highest fully vaccinated adult population in East Africa

    Adolescent children in Kenya and Rwanda are now eligible to receive Pfizer Covid jabs as both countries kick off vaccine campaigns.

    Rwanda will be vaccinating children from the age of 12 and above from Tuesday while Kenya is allowing those those from 15 years.

    Rwanda has the highest fully vaccinated population in East Africa with over 20% of the total population. The rest of the region including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have vaccinated less than 10% of their total population.

    Rwanda's adolescent vaccination programme will cover the entire country and parents or guardians have to sign consent forms before their children can be vaccinated.

    The state will work with schools for distribution and collection of consent forms.

    In Kenya, the health ministry expects to receive four million doses of Pfizer vaccines for its campaign to vaccinate adolescents.

    A graphic showing the Kenya vaccination plan

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved Pfizer vaccine as suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above. The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended the same vaccine for younger children aged from five years.

    However doses are given based on country recommendations.

    South Africa was the first African country to vaccinate children with Zimbabwe following suit.

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    Video caption: Rwanda: Kigali's bike-sharing scheme to lower greenhouse emissions

    A bike-share scheme has been setup in Kigali to help lower emissions in Rwanda's capital.