Police boss appeals for calm after attack

KIGALI - Following two separate incidents in which two people were killed and five others injured and rushed to hospital, the Rwanda National Police have asked the general public to remain calm, saying nothing out of the ordinary was at play.
Rwigamba speaking to journalists yesterday. (Photo / J. Mbanda)
Rwigamba speaking to journalists yesterday. (Photo / J. Mbanda)

KIGALI - Following two separate incidents in which two people were killed and five others injured and rushed to hospital, the Rwanda National Police have asked the general public to remain calm, saying nothing out of the ordinary was at play.

Police Commissioner General Andrew Rwigamba told an impromptu news conference at his office in Kacyiru yesterday that there was no indication that both incidents were targeting Genocide survivors although the victims were all engaged with Genocide commemoration activities.

An unknown person hurled a grenade at police constable Ignace Munyantamati at the entrance of Kigali Genocide Memorial Site at around 7:15pm on Thursday, roughly five minutes after a minibus driver knocked dead Kigali Institute of Management (KIM) student Fred Gasasira on the roadside at a time the latter had just returned from laying wreaths with a group of other mourners on graves of Genocide victims located in the vicinity of the institute.

Rwigamba said investigations had been opened into the two incidents, adding that available information showed that the two were not related although he did not rule out the likelihood of the two incidents being coordinated.

He said that police was also trying to find out whether the Kigali memorial site incident was aimed at the victim (Munyantamati) or a sabotage action targeted at the museum itself.

“The grenade killed one police officer and injured another one. It did not destroy the building nor did it affect any other person, including those inside the memorial at the time,” Rwigamba said, adding that the incident occurred at a time when some people, including tourists, were watching a Genocide movie inside the museum.

“It could probably be an ordinary criminal act targeted at the victim himself.”

He added: “The results of the investigations have not so far shown us that the (grenade throwing) incident was an act of the enemy,” the Police chief said. He said the investigations had come up with certain leads, but declined to divulge them saying it could tamper with the inquiry.

“We have some evidence that could lead us to the culprit. So far, the information we have show that it was an act that could have been targeted at the victim (Munyantamati). However, the public should be patient as the final results of the investigations will certainly be brought to the light. There should not be speculation as there are no strange security threats we have identified,” Rwigamba said.

He said the victim has not been a survivor of the Genocide, but avoided openly rejecting suggestions that genocide ideologists could have been behind the attack.

On the KIM incident, Rwigamba said that police was still interrogating the driver and searching for any other facts surrounding the case.

The Police chief said the driver blames the “accident” to his failure to control the vehicle because he was over-speeding.

The Police chief however said there were doubts about the offender’s confessions, wondering how he switched from his right lane and swerved off to the road on the left side.

“These people were holding candles with lights on as they returning from laying wreaths on a nearby cemetery for Genocide victims. It is incomprehensible how he crossed all the way from the other side of the road and ram into a group of people on the opposite side,” he said. He said apart from the driver, the Kigali-bound taxi also had two other occupants including a conductor.

Rwigamba warned the public against making conclusions about the incidents, urging for patience until police investigations reveal the real causes behind.

Referring to the grenade case as a “small incident”, Rwigamba said it was still too early to conclude that the occurrence was connected to acts against Genocide commemoration although that itself could not be ruled out yet.

He said previously, there had been sabotage acts targeted at Genocide memorial sites giving an example of an aborted attempt to set ablaze a Genocide museum in Cyangugu, Western Province over a year ago.

Rwigamba also reaffirmed Police commitment to the security of Genocide survivors even as many as nine survivors are said to have been killed by alleged Genocide suspects since January this year. While Police don’t dispute that figure however, they say their numbers are only half that figure.

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