The writing of this note was prompted by a story from sources in Rwanda I started following on Tuesday September 17th 2013 in the morning.
Around 10:00am London time, which is 11:00am in Kigali, Boniface Twagirimana posted on his facebook page saying from Kigali that “the Rwandan police has just taken into custody students and taxi drivers who were coming from the office of the Prime Minister where they had handed in letters of grievances. In their letter, students are complaining about the fact that they have been stopped from pursuing their university studies because the Rwandan government did not renew its allocations of bursaries or loans to the majority of children interested in higher education. Taxi drivers are complaining that they cannot drive anymore in Kigali following discriminatory measures taken by government officials.”
Once the group which handed in the letters to the prime minister’s office joined their colleagues who were waiting them in the main station of Kacyiru area, that is when a contingent of heavily armed policemen highhandedly took 40 students from the group and drove them into custody in different police stations of the city.
According to igihe.com, a government news outlet, the students that its journalist spoke to at the station of Kacyiru before they were taken away by the police, had collected signatures from colleagues, came from different higher education institutions in Rwanda and were victims of the same injustice.
Boniface Twagirimana who in the afternoon went to the police station of Remera to check out if there were detainees from the group who were held there was told by a policeman who wanted to remain anonymous for his safety, that effectively Martin Ntavuka, Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa, Samuel Hitimana, Sosthene Uwiringiyimana, and Emmanuel Ntakirutimana were there.
It is illegal to show to the regime of the Rwandan Patriotic Front that you are unhappy of the way you are treated by your government. 40 of these young Rwandans have been put in prison for writing a letter to their prime minister to get back into their rights of studying. They were last year registered with the following universities and institutions of higher education: NUR, KIST, KIE, SFB, UPU and others.
The position that their government put them into does not provide them with any acceptable solution to their problem. Those of them who are now detainees, if we don’t continue advocating about their case, they might disappear since they would not be the first ones to know such fate in the hands of the RPF regime.
On their behalf, this note should be seen as an appeal to organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Prisoners of Conscience to follow their case while they are still traceable.