Rwanda: Kigali Concerned About Fate of Rwandans Detained in Kinshasa

The Rwandan government has once again expressed concern over the detention of two citizens accused of being spies in DR Congo.

Two Rwandan citizens, Juvenal Nshimiyimana and Moses Mushabe, who work for a Geneva-based non-profit organisation, were arrested in August by the Congolese National Intelligence Agency (ANR).

In a statement to the BBC on Friday, December 30, Yolande Makolo, the government spokesperson, said Nshimiyimana and Mushabe’s detention by Congolese officials was an example of how “leaders unable to account for their own failures…point fingers at outside sinister forces.”

“Rwanda is deeply concerned about the fate of two Rwandan citizens, Dr Juvenal Nshimiyimana and Moses Mushabe, both staff of African Health Development Organisation, detained in Kinshasa since August 30, 2022,” Makolo said.

Nshimiyimana is the country director of AHDO in DR Congo. He previously served as the acting country director of UNAIDS. Mushabe is the provincial head of AHDO in Tshikapa, the capital of Kasai Province, in the central southern part of the vast country.

In November, Foreign Minister Dr. Vincent Biruta wrote to his Congolese counterpart, Christophe Lutundula, asking for the unconditional release of the two Rwandans.

Earlier this week, the Congolese government paraded four men, including Nshimiyimana and Mushabe, accused of being Rwandan spies and of having “infiltrated” the Congolese armed forces and the ruling class.

“This paradigm of alleged spies is straight from a playbook that we recognise all too well,” Makolo said.

“Leaders unable to account for their own failures will seek to fuel ethnic divisions and point the finger at sinister outside forces.”

She added: “Nobody in the Great Lakes Region is under any illusion as to where this leads or how great the toll is. The international community should take note and hold the DRC officials accountable for this escalation.”

Rwanda’s relations with DR Congo soured this year after Kinshasa accused Kigali of supporting the M23 rebels. Rwanda dismissed the allegations.

Diplomatic tensions worsened in October when Rwanda’s envoy to Kinshasa was expelled.

The Rwandan government has accused DR Congo of collaborating with the FDLR militia, remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in shelling on Rwandan territory. In the last such incident, two rockets from DR Congo landed in Kinigi Sector, Musanze District on June 10.

Most recently, a Congolese warplane on December 28 violated Rwanda’s airspace – the second such incident after a Sukhoi-25 fighter jet briefly landed at Rubavu airport, on November 7.

Kigali has said the “repeated violations” are against regional peace efforts to normalise the two countries’ relations.

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