25 July 2012

Africa: Rwanda 'Outraged By Torture' of Nationals in DRC

Rwanda has expressed "outrage at continued targeting of Rwandans in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)", saying that four Rwandan citizens had recently been tortured, resulting in one death, inside a Congolese army facility.

"This is an extremely serious incident - we have confirmation that one of the tortured Rwandans has died. We have asked the Government of the DRC to ensure that the mistreatment of Rwandan citizens stops immediately," Rwanda's Foreign Minister and Government Spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The four Rwandans were reportedly held and tortured at Camp Katindo, a Congolese army facility in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province where the army is fighting M23 rebels.

Mushikiwabo said Kigali had "brought this case to the urgent attention of the Joint Verification Taskforce and warned against the resurgence of hate speech". The taskforce is composed of officials from the two countries.

"We have learned before that hate speech has consequences; that reckless political rhetoric costs lives. It is something our region must not be forced to endure ever again," she added.

Last month, 11 Rwandan nationals were handed over to local Immigration authorities in Rubavu District after allegedly being tortured by Congolese armed forces.

They bore grave bruises as a result of severe physical torture and said they were arrested and denied food for several days, the government says.

It was not immediately possible to get a comment from Kinshasa as we could not access Communications minister Lambert Mende on telephone this morning.

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