A prominent Rwandan journalist living in exile in neighboring Uganda has been shot to death in Kampala, according to local police.
Charles Ingabire was killed in a bar in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, but few details of the murder have yet emerged.
According to Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), two people are now in custody in connection with the murder. They have been identified as Onzima David, a security guard at the bar, and Robinah Nabunnya, who worked as a waitress.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibin Senkumbi told HRNJ-Uganda: The journalist [Ingabire] walked into the bar with an unidentified friend just a few minutes after midnight and he was shot dead within the bar gardens. We have recovered his phone, which is helping us with the investigations. We are also using information from the two suspects to understand what exactly happened.
As the former editor of Inyenyeri News, Ingabore was highly critical of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s government.
Godwin Buwa, a legal adviser at the Uganda's Refugee Law Project and a friend of Ingabire, told the BBC: “He [Ingabire] told me quite a number of times how insecure he [was] and we coordinated to find some kind of security for him.”
Ingabire is only the latest in a spate of Kagame critics who have been killed in recent years. While the Rwanda regime has repeatedly denied having anything to do with the murders, Rwandan exiles directly blame Rwandan security forces.
Last year in the city of Kigali in Rwanda, Jean-Leonard Rugambage, the editor for a privately-owned tabloid called Umuvugizi, was also killed.
It's unfortunate that attacks aiming to silence critical voices are spreading beyond Rwanda and the gunmen continue to be unknown. There's a need for a special and independent body to investigate all murders that have claimed journalists' lives because of their work, otherwise we shall continue losing journalists and other people who are killed in cold blood, said HRNJ-Uganda Programs Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala in a statement.
Similarly, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), condemned the killing of Ignabire.
“Ingabire was an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government. In 2007, he left Kigali, Rwanda's capital, and began working as a correspondent for the critical online site Umuvugizi from Kampala,” CPJ said.
“Critical journalists are not tolerated in Rwanda … Since April 2010, six journalists fearing intimidation and arrests have fled in exile … Two Rwandan journalists, Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi, currently face lengthy prison sentences for charges that include insulting President Paul Kagame.”
Tom Rhodes, CPJ East Africa Consultant, said in a statement: We are saddened by the killing of Charles Ingabire, which effectively silences yet another exiled critical voice of the Rwandan government. Ugandan police must do their utmost to investigate this murder and ensure journalists can work freely without fear of reprisal in the country.