KIGALI - The Rwanda National Police (RNP) has moved to clarify on the arrest of two Congolese nationals who were intercepted on August 19 trying to cross to Burundi, noting that the individuals were summoned on criminal grounds.
Joseph Sanane and Epimack Kwokwo, the president and acting executive secretary of the Regional Human Rights League in the Great Lakes Region (Ligue des droits de la personne dans la région des Grands Lacs, LDGL), were stopped by immigration officials as they attempted to cross into Burundi.
The duo, who were apparently travelling to Burundi for a management committee meeting, were summoned, interrogated by CID detectives and released immediately.
However, the two have since tried to politicise the incident, reporting it to global human rights watchdogs as a case of government persecution and intimidation but police has denied any such allegations.
The Police Spokesperson Supt. Theos Badage, yesterday said that the case should not be misinterpreted or linked to political persecution but it should be rather considered as a criminal case.
“It should be understood even from the mode of arrest. They were summoned and interrogated by police over accusations of mismanagement of funds filed by their colleagues in LDGL,” Badege told The New Times.
“Whatever we did was within the law, including stopping their movement. When someone is a suspected criminal, the police has the right to halt their movement to conduct investigations.”
Badege dismissed claims by Human Rights Watch that the arrest was clearly designed to obstruct LDGL’s activities, intimidate its leadership, and weaken the organisation, warning that the incident should not be politicised as it is purely criminal.