One dead in foiled attack on Musanze ex-mayor's home

An unidentified man was on Thursday night shot and killed by security forces after assailants attacked the home of the former Musanze mayor, Winifrida Mpembyemungu, in the wee hours of the morning.

An unidentified man was on Thursday night shot and killed by security forces after assailants attacked the home of the former Musanze mayor, Winifrida Mpembyemungu, in the wee hours of the morning.

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Mpembyemungu. (File)

Police in Musanze District have already started investigating the circumstances and motive of the attack.

 

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner of Police Celestin Twahirwa confirmed the incident in a phone interview yesterday, adding that one of attackers was shot dead as he tried to flee. He said another one was injured and later arrested while seeking treatment at Ruhengeri Hospital.

 

“He checked himself into the hospital Friday morning claiming he was involved in an accident.”

 

He identified the injured assailant as one Rachid Niyitegeka from Rubavu District, while the deceased’s identity had not yet been established by press time as he held no documents. Four other attackers are still on the run.

“The injured is being treated at hospital and we expect him to provide more information which should help in the ongoing investigations,” he added.

Twahirwa said the occupants of the house were not hurt. He said when they heard the attackers, they made an alarm, attracting security personnel who intervened immediately. 

According to eyewitnesses, six assailants armed with traditional weapons accessed the former mayor’s compound by climbing over the perimetre wall.

Police also hope that more details will emerge as the suspects left behind their mobile phones as they fled.

It is not the first time the former mayor’s home is being attacked. In 2014, when she was the district mayor, Mpembyemungu’s home was attacked by armed assailants, who killed a baby and injured two other members of her household. The attackers were arrested, prosecuted and convicted. It was also discovered that they were members of FDLR militia, which is based in the DR Congo and is largely composed of elements of elements linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 

The Police spokesperson could not rule out the possibility of the attack being linked to the previous one.

When this newspaper visited the scene, Mpebeyemungu’s home was being guarded by security personnel. 

The former mayor said she could not talk to the media, saying investigations into the attack were still ongoing. A number of visitors were found at her home in show of solidarity.

“It defeats logic that the home of our neighbour is attacked twice in less than a two years. We are worried that her life and that of neighbours could be in danger,” said a neighbour, who preferred to remain anonymous, calling on security agencies to do everything to prevent such attacks.

Mpembyemungu was the Musanze District mayor until February, when she was replaced in the recent local government elections. 

Police has, meanwhile, called on the public to be vigilant and provide any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects who remain on the run.

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