Vincent Biruta demands release of Rwandans held by DRC’s intelligence

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on Thursday, 10 November 2022 13:20
Rwanda's Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta © Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP

In a letter sent on 4 November to his Congolese counterpart, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister protested against “the increasing harassment of Rwandans living in the DRC”. Two people are said to be imprisoned at the premises of DRC’s intelligence services.

While the fighting against the M23 rebels has intensified since 20 October, the tension between Kigali and Kinshasa has been rising daily on the diplomatic front since the expulsion of Rwandan ambassador Vincent Karega on 31 October.

Although quiet mediation efforts are ongoing behind the scenes, a letter obtained by Jeune Afrique indicates that Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta has once again pounded his fist on the table.

In this letter addressed to his Congolese counterpart Christophe Lutundula via his country’s embassy in Kinshasa, the minister states that he has “learned with deep concern of the arrest of two other Rwandans who were legal residents in the DRC”.

Arrested on 30 August

According to Biruta, Dr Juvénal Nshimiyimana and Moses Mushabe were both arrested on 30 August at Nshimiyimana’s home and have since been held incommunicado at the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), headed by Jean-Hervé Mbelu Biosha.

Dr Nshimiyimana is a former interim country director of UNAIDS and holds the same position on a permanent basis at the Geneva-based African Health Development Organisation (AHDO). Moses Mushabe one of his colleagues, is the provincial head of the same NGO’s office in Tshikapa, Kasai.

In his letter, Biruta asks the Congolese government “to urgently release these two Rwandan nationals and to repatriate them quickly, without any conditions”. And to hammer his point home: “The ministry once again strongly condemns the increasing incidences of harassment of Rwandan nationals on DRC territory and calls on the government to bring a stop to it.”

At publication time, DRC’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula had not yet returned our call.

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