Rwandan journalist gunned down in Kampala

Charles Ingabire, editor of Inyenyeri who was shot and killed in Kampala on Wednesday.

By  Staff Writer

Reports reaching us from Kampala say unidentified gunmen e shot and killed a Rwanda journalist based in Kampala. Charles Ingabire, 32, who has been editor of the Rwandan newspaper Inyenyeri, a vernacular online news magazine, was shot on Wednesday November 30, 2011 at Makie’s bar in Bukesa, a Kampala suburb. Ingabire is said to have been a vocal critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

According to a Ugandan rights organisation, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), two people are under police custody at Old Kampala police station. They were named as Onzima David, a security Guard and Robinah Nabunnya, a waitress at Makie’s 2 Bar. A source told HRNJ-Uganda that Police has recovered five cartridges of sub machine gun bullets that are believed to have been used in the murder.

 Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibn Ssenkumbi confirmed the murder of the journalist to HRNJ-Uganda. He however said that the body was recovered on Thursday morning. He said it was not until Ingabire’s relatives went to police to complain it was known that the deceased was a journalist. A witness told police: “The journalist 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 received from the two suspects to understand what exactly happened.

Ingabire is the second Rwandese editor to be shot dead by unknown gunmen in less than two years. The first was Jean-Leonard Rugambage, a 34-year-old editor for a private tabloid, Umuvugizi, in 2010 in Kigali. “It’s unfortunate that attacks aiming to silence critical voices are spreading beyond Rwanda and the gunmen continue to be unknown. There’s 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 Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala

While extending HRNJ-Uganda its heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and the entire journalism profession in the region and beyond for the loss of what it called ‘a brilliant professional. HRNJ-Uganda called upon the Government of Uganda to consider inviting Interpol into the matter. “We fear that Ugandan forces might fail to divulge the results of the findings to the public like other inquiries conducted before,” HRNJ-Uganda said.

A London-based Rwanda opposition party, the Rwanda Peoples Party-Imvura (RPP-Imvura) issued a statement Friday accusing President Kagame’s government of being responsible for Ingabire’s murder. In a strongly-worded statement, a copy of which we have seen, the RPP-Imvura condemned what it called ‘the brutal and well-calculated brutal murder’ of Mr Ingabire. Signed by five members of the RPP-Imvura, the statement added that Ingabire was a member of the RPP-Imvura. “The RPP believes that President Kagame is deluding himself if he thinks he can crash the spirits of the Rwandan people through the murder of its own citizens. It added: “The Kagame regime has killed Ingabire but the spirit of Rwanda remains united and strong. The RPP urged the Ugandan authorities to do everything in their power to bring the culprits to justice.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the fatal shooting of Ingabire in Kampala and called on the police to identify the culprits and bring them to justice. CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said: “We are saddened by the killing of Charles Ingabire, which effectively silences yet another exiled critical voice of the Rwandan government.” He added: “Ugandan police must do their utmost to investigate this murder and ensure journalists can work freely without fear of reprisal in the country.”


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