Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

25 August 2014

Rwanda: Police Refutes Claims That Bodies in Lake Rweru Are Rwandans

Photo: Paul Kagame
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda (file photo).

The police has refuted suggestions from Burundian authorities that five bodies discovered in Lake Rweru are Rwandan citizens. The Interior Minister of Burundi, Edouard Nduwimana, had expressed concerns and called for calm between the two countries, before alleging that the bodies are of Rwandan nationality.

"So far, and according to reports sent to us by the local government, we can confirm that the bodies are not Burundians," the Minister told RFI. "Fishermen told us that the bodies came from the Akagera river which flows into Lake Rweru from Rwanda. This leads us to believe that the bodies came from Rwanda, but there is no confirmation. Investigations are needed to confirm whether or not they are bodies of Rwandans who came from Kagera, or if there are other bodies, those of Burundians thrown from Rweru."

While Nduwimana observed that Burundian local authorities reported no missing citizens, the Rwandan police affirms the same is the case for Rwanda.

"A number of dead bodies were recently recovered from Lake Rweru on the side of Burundi by fishermen in the province of Muyinga. We can confirm that there are no missing Rwandans among the bodies," the commissioner for the Criminal Investigation Department, Theos Badege, said.

The police say the mayors of Ngoma and Kirehe also confirmed no citizens in their area have been reported missing.

"Through the usual good working relation with his Burundian counterpart, the regional police commander for Eastern Province crossed to Burundi to continue investigations and inform his counterparts that there is no case of missing people on the Rwandan side," Badege added.

A team of administrators and police officers from Burundi and Rwanda went in the region where the two new bodies were discovered on Monday, wrapped in large bags floating on the waters of this lake that separates the two countries. This brings the number of bodies found in the area for a week to five.

Fishermen raised the alarm after finding corpses of men and women, some tied up, floating on the waters of Lake Rweru several times since the beginning of July. Rweru is the largest lake in the Northern Burundi, on the border with Rwanda.

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