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Rwanda: Singer arrested

15 April 2014

On 11 April 2014, singer Kizito Mihigo, one of Rwanda’s best-known musicians, was arrested by police, accused, along with a former soldier and the director of a Christian radio station, of planning ‘terrorist attacks’ with the aim to overthrow the government.

rwanda_kizito-mihigo


 UPDATE | FEBRUARY 2015: 
» BBC World – 27 February 2015:
Rwanda singer Kizito Mihigo planned to kill Paul Kagame
A popular Rwandan singer has been jailed for 10 years after being convicted of planning to kill President Kagame and inciting hatred against the government.


 UPDATE | APRIL 2014: 
» Arterial Network – 28 April 2014:
Kizito Mihigo: The trial making Kigali sing
Pleading guilty on 28 April, the singer asked for forgiveness – he remains in detention as the trial continues.


Tom Paulson of Humanosphere alleged that Kizito Mihigo was arrested and charged with terrorism for having written a song that contends some of the atrocities of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda were commited by the forces of Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame.

Police said they suspected the three men to be working with the FDLR rebels on plans to assassinate government officials and to incite violence.

BBC Great Lakes editor Ally Yusuf Mugenzi stated that Kizito Mihigo used to be close to the government, and that Mihigo’s arrest had come as a surprise to many Rwandans.

According to Associated Press, one of Mihigo’s songs takes a dig at a controversial government program requiring ethnic Hutus — the group that carried out the vast majority of the 1994 killings — to apologize to Tutsis. The program came under fire after it prompted Hutu children born after the genocide to apologize on behalf of their parents’ generation. Some criticized the program as a way to keep ethnic Hutus feeling guilty for the genocide.”

An organist and composer, 33-year-old Kizito Mihigo had previously claimed to have devoted his talent to the promotion of peace, unity and reconciliation among Rwandans. He came to the limelight in 2011 when his genocide commemoration song ‘Amateka’ became famous during the 17th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi population.

Rwanda is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.


» Humanosphere – 14 April 2014:
Catholic liturgical musician arrested as terrorist in Rwanda
Kizito Mihigo, a musician who specializes in Catholic liturgical music has been arrested and charged with terrorism for writing a song that contends some of the atrocities of the 1994 genocide were commited by Kagame’s forces as well (a contention supported by many independent studies and reports). Article by Tom Paulson


» News of Rwanda – 14 April 2014:
Local artiste Kizito Mihigo arrested over suspected terrorist activities
Rwanda National Police on Monday revealed the arrest of Kizito Mihigo, a renowned local artiste, a demomibilised soldier and a journalist who had earlier been reported missing, over suspected acts against state Security.


» The New Times – 15 April 2014:
Kizito Mihigo, two others arrested over suspected subversive activities
Rwanda National Police is holding three individuals suspected of offences against state security.


» Associated Press | Time, Washington Post – 14 April 2014:
Musician, Journalist Arrested In Rwanda


BBC News – 14 April 2014:
Rwanda’s Kizito Mihigo and Cassien Ntamuhanga arrested
One of Rwanda’s best-known musicians and a leading journalist have been arrested and accused of links to an opposition group and rebels.



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