• Police refutes claims of imminent arrest
KIGALI - The leader of the yet-to-be-registered FDU-Inkingi political party, Victoire Ingabire, was yesterday turned away by the British High Commission in Kigali where she had gone claiming to seek “political protection and temporary refuge”.
However, sources said yesterday that Ingabire’s “latest attempts at attention-grabbing” were futile because the British mission reportedly threw her out.
The British High Commissioner, Nicolas Canon, politely declined to either confirm or deny to The New Times whether Ingabire had approached the High Commission, saying that: “That subject is internal to the embassy and I am sorry I can’t comment,” the British envoy said.
Earlier reports that she had first sought asylum at the Dutch Embassy were denied by Ambassador Frans Makken.
“ No, she did not come here, instead she went to the UK High Commission,” said the envoy.
Victoire Ingabire, who had had been granted refugee status in The Netherlands, arrived in the country on January 16. Under international conventions, she automatically lost her refugee status upon return to her homeland.
Strangely, diplomatic sources indicate that recently, the Dutch Embassy issued Ingabire a three-year visa, effectively facilitating her to retain her refugee status, as she carries on political activities in Rwanda
However, after the rejection, Ingabire herself confirmed that she had attempted to seek protection from the UK mission:
“This morning my political organisation, FDU-UDF INKINGI informed the national and international community about my request for a temporary refuge. It’s true I was for many hours today inside the British High Commission in Kigali,” Ingabire wrote on their website.
Ingabire’s camp alleges that it had “confirmed information of an imminent arrest, detention in a solitary confinement, physical and mental harassment and psychological torture” but police dismissed the claims.
“Nothing of the sort was being planned,” said Police spokesperson Supt. Eric Kayiranga.
“As for her reasons for seeking asylum, we don’t know, but I can confirm that she was actually summoned just like we have done previously, so that she responds to some questions. That is nothing new.
“Note that we have never issued any arrest warrant. It was just routine summoning”.
Ever since she returned from a 16-year self-imposed exile, her declarations have angered many sections of the Rwandan society who consider them divisive and revisionist in addition to espousing the double genocide theory.