2 Rwandan cops held over killing of anti-graft activist

2014-09-26 09:36

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Kigali - Rwanda has arrested two policemen in connection with the murder more than a year ago of an anti-corruption campaigner who had been investigating mineral smuggling from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, police said on Thursday.

Gustave Makonene, a co-ordinator for anti-corruption body Transparency International, was found dead in July 2013 in Rubavu, near the border with eastern DRC, a war-torn region rich in minerals that have fuelled an illegal trade.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, which had criticised the slow pace of police efforts to track down the killers, said a police medical report indicated Makonene had been strangled.

"We have credible and convincing evidence that the two suspects ... planned and executed the murder of late Gustave Makonene," the police commissioner in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division, Theos Badege, told a news conference.

The two men were paraded before journalists at the news conference. One of the men was detained on Monday and the other was already serving a jail sentence for other crimes.

Police said Makonene had become aware the two men were involved in illegal smuggling and had told them to stop their activities. When one of the policemen was transferred from the Rubavu region back to Kigali, they believed Makonene had informed their superiors and so plotted to kill him.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern in January over the limited public attention given to the case, saying this reflected the sensitivity of the issue and tight controls on the media.

The Rwandan government has dismissed such criticism and says it does not limit free speech.

Read more on:    drc  |  rwanda  |  east africa  |  central africa

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