The list of the mysterious deaths of political opponents of Kagame in Rwanda

Written by on September 17, 2021

The murder of Revocant Karemangingo a prominent critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Maputo on Monday has confirmed fears of other Rwanda dissidents that the presence of Rwanda’s troops in Mozambique is helping it to get at its own political enemies.

International rights groups claim that opposition politicians, journalists, and activists both in Rwanda and abroad have also been killed or made to disappear after criticizing Kagame or his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party.

The list of the mysterious deaths of political opponents of president Paul Kagame in Rwanda

  • Revocant Karemangingo, 2021
    Millionaire businessman Revocant Karemangingo was sprayed with bullets by gunmen near his home in Maputo. The outspoken Kagame critic had settled in Mozambique after being ousted from his home country in 1994. The Rwandan government has denied any involvement in the killing. However, Cleophas Habiyaremye, president of the association of Rwandan refugees in Mozambique, rejects the denial. “If there is any real independent inquiry, Kagame and his government should be held responsible,” Cleophas Habiyaremye 
  • Exiled Rwandan Ex-army Officer Gunned Down In Mozambique – Thecapitaltimes
  • Ntamuhanga Cassien, 2021
    Rwandan journalist Ntamuhanga Cassien disappeared in Maputo in May after being taken into custody by Mozambican police, and has not been heard from since. There are rumors he washanded over to Rwanda.Mozambique to Illegally Extradite Abducted Rwandan Refugee Cassien Ntamuhanga through Tanzania - Command One Post
  • Abdallah Seif Bamporiki, 2021
    The leading Rwandan opposition politician and member of the Rwanda National Congress was shot dead in South Africa, where he was living in exile. South African police initially said they were treating the killing as a robbery. A week before his murder, Bamporiki had led a memorial service for Rwandan opposition activists killed worldwide.

Iyicwa rya Abdallah Seif Bamporiki polisi iti: “ni ubujura”, RNC iti: “leta  y'u Rwanda ifitemo inyungu” | Umunyarwanda

  • Kizito Mihigo, 2020
  • The singer and government critic died under suspicious circumstances in police custody. Police claim Mihigo strangled himself — but days before his arrest, hereported to Human Rights Watch that he was being threatened.

Rwandan gospel singer and critic of president dies in police cell | Rwanda | The Guardian

  • Anselme Mutuyimana, 2019
    The assistant to Victoire Ingabire, president of the opposition United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi) party, was found dead in the woods in 2019. The year before, Mutuyimana had been freed from a six-year prison sentence for “political activism.”

Another Mysterious Opposition Death in Rwanda | Human Rights Watch

  • Jean Damascene Habarugira, 2017
    The opposition politician disappeared after being called to a meeting with an officer responsible for local security. A few days later, authorities called Habarugira’s family to collect his body from a local hospital.

RWANDA: Opposition party leader likely murdered, govt says he escaped from prison - Peril Of Africa

  • Illuminee Iragena, 2016
    The opposition activist went missing in 2016, and has not been seen since. There are fears she was forcibly disappeared. 

Rwanda: Opposition Activist Missing | Human Rights Watch


  • Patrick Karegeya, 2014
    The former Rwandan intelligence chief was found dead in a hotel room in South Africa. He had fled to South Africa in 2007 after allegedly plotting a coup against President Kagame. According to a 2019 article in The Guardian, before his death, several Rwandans in South Africa had warned Karegeya that Rwanda’s military intelligence was looking to hire contract killers. 

Rwandans Charged With Murder of Exiled Critic | Human Rights Watch

  • Theogene Turatsinze, 2012
    The former head of the Rwanda Development Bank was found dead in 2012 in a river near Maputo, days after he went missing. Before he was fired from his position, Turatsinze was believed to have taken with him to Mozambique a list of secret payments made by top Rwandan government officials.

Why I Dedicated My New Book To The Late Théogène Turatsinze | Therwandan


  • Charles Ingabire, 2011
    The Rwandan reporter founded Inyenyeri Newssite, which was highly critical of Rwanda’s government. Ingabire was shot and killed in Uganda, where he lived as a political refugee.

Rwandan online journalist killed in Kampala - Committee to Protect Journalists

  • Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, 2010
    The deputy chairman of Rwanda’s Democratic Green Party was found murdered and partially beheaded in Rwanda in 2010. An inquiry into his murder by Rwanda’s Bureau of Investigation never saw the light of day. 

Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch: Rwanda election: Calls mount for independent autopsy of slain opposition leaderHungry for Truth, Peace and Justice: The Murder of Andre Kagwa Rwisereka: A Coward Terrorist Act Against Democracy

  • Jean-Leonard Rugambage, 2010 
    The journalist was shot dead in 2010 after he published an online article about the attempted murder of a former army chief, Lieutenant-General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Rugambage was viewed as highly critical of  Kagame’s government.  

Rwanda 'assassins' kill reporter Jean Leonard Rugambage - BBC News

  • Seth Sendashonga, 1998  
    A moderate ethnic Hutu involved in the post-genocide unity government with Kagame’s RPF party, Sendashonga served as interior minister until he fell out with the RPF before Kagame became president in 2000. Sendashonga survived an attempt on his life while in exile in Kenya, but was subsequently killed by unknown gunmen in 1998.  

Yearn for Justice

  • Theoneste Lizinde, 1996
    The former intelligence official was found dead in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1996. 

Yearn for Justice

NOTE: There might be other people that I have not included on the list who are either unknown or else forgotten.

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