The Government of Rwanda is urging the Rwandan community in Europe to be more vigilante following a botched attempt Tuesday night by unknown assailants to set ablaze the Rwandan embassy in Paris, France.
An unknown number of arsonists threw Molotov cocktails at the mission’s premises. No one was injured in the attack and the damages incurred during the attack are minor.
Calling the attack “unusual”, the Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told The New Times by email that Rwanda contacted the French government, requesting and receiving 24-hour police protection for the embassy.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the international treaty that defines the framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries, stipulates in Article 22 that ‘the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity’.
“We have activated communication between our Embassy and the Rwandan community in Paris, including calls to be more alert and avoid some neighborhoods”, Mushikiwabo said.
Commenting on the possible motives for the attack, the Foreign Minister said that the French Security services suspect Congolese citizens disgruntled with the recently concluded presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo were behind the attack.
“These same Congolese have been blaming Rwanda for supposedly supporting a candidate who’s not of their choice. It’s unacceptable to our Government and we expect the host countries to protect our citizens at all costs,” said the minister.
Promising to spare no means to protect its citizens against such “irrational behaviour”, the minister admonished the perpetrators of the attacks saying that “blaming others for one’s problem does not solve the problem. What I can tell perpetrators of these acts is that Rwandan authorities will not tolerate bigotry against its citizens too long,” she warned.
During President Paul Kagame’s recent official visit to Paris, some Rwandans were targeted by Congolese citizens living in France.