Two Rubavu men held over mob justice

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has on Friday, March 27, arrested two men in Rubavu District, Western Province, who are suspected of intentional assault.

These men were arrested after a video went viral on social media, showing a man called Salomon Niyonzima, 24, being subjected to mob justice, as he was being held by four men.

 

The video also shows other people surrounding the scene, some of them laughing and encouraging the beating “to teach the suspect a lesson”.

 

In a tweet, RNP noted that the suspects in custody are Jean-Baptiste Niyonzima, 30, and Jean-Bosco Bitwayiki, 37.

 

Police also said other suspects being pursued include one Francois Bipfakubaho and another one identified as Nshimiye.

Marie-Michelle Umuhoza, the Spokesperson of Rwanda Investigation Bureau to which the case was handed also told The New Times that “investigations are ongoing and that everyone who was involved will be held accountable.”

How did it happen?  

According to Faustin Nkurunziza, the Executive Secretary of Rugerero Sector where the incident took place, this happened on Wednesday, March 25, after Niyonzima was caught redhanded stealing bananas.

“That man seen being beaten in the video was caught stealing on Wednesday afternoon. The owner of that plantation was contacted by his employees right away, and upon arrival, he ordered them to beat up the suspect instead of informing authorities,” Nkurunziza said in an interview.

He added: “After the beating, the suspected thief was left in the plantation with no strength to move and only went to his home the following day on Thursday morning. We discovered all this after seeing the video and traced it because no one informed authorities in advance so as to take appropriate measures.”  

Nkurunziza also noted that Niyonzima was on Friday taken to hospital for check-up and treatment.

Precaution

Speaking to The New Times, CP John Bosco Kabera, the Police Spokesperson, said that no one should take the law in his or her own hand.

He said: “We urge Rwandans to always inform nearby authorities whenever a crime takes place instead of taking the law in their own hands. Crime can’t be corrected by another crime.”

Article 121 of Rwanda’s Penal Code stipulates that any person who, willfully injures, beats or commits any serious violence against another person, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years and not more than five years and a fine of not less than Rwf 500,000 and not more than Rwf 1,000,000.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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