Tag Archives: Rwanda

Buhari suggests ‘what must be done’ to African Union for relevancy.

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Buhari commended President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for presenting a special report on the need to reform the AU.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a comprehensive reform of the structures and operations of the African Union to make it more functional in meeting targets.

Buhari, in a statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Sunday warned that the organisation would become stale, except it becomes more result-oriented.

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Buhari made the call in an intervention at the ongoing two-day 34th Summit of the AU, held virtually.

“As your excellences are no doubt aware, global realities demand that the AU be overhauled, if it must remain relevant in intergovernmental processes.

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“We must work concertedly to ensure a productive, self-sufficient and purpose-driven organisation that will fully serve the interests of the people.

“As we commence the operationalisation of this new structure and system, Nigeria demands a truly reformed, efficient and effective AU Commission, one that is fully committed to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities,’’ the President said.

Buhari commended President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for presenting a special report on the need to reform the AU.

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He also appreciated the support of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in the election of Amb. Bankole Adeoye as Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security.

He noted with gratitude the overwhelming and historic endorsement of the ambassador with 55 votes, an indication that all the members voted.

He congratulated the career diplomat, who also serves as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA.

The president urged Adeoye to deploy his knowledge and experience in foreign policy and diplomacy, particularly on bilateral and multilateral issues, to bring value to the new position.

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Buhari assured Adeoye of the country’s support.

The Nigerian leader congratulated all elected members of the African Union Commission, 2021 which include the Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chad and Deputy Chairman, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Rwanda.

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#Newsworthy

Rwandan genocide fugitive suspect, Felicien to be transferred to ‘The Hague’

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The UN tribunal, a successor to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda international war crimes tribunals, has courtrooms both in The Hague and in the Tanzanian city.

An international tribunal prosecuting alleged Rwandan genocide financier Felicien Kabuga on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity said Wednesday he was to be temporarily transferred to The Hague for a medical assessment.

The order comes after Kabuga’s lawyers asked that he be transferred to the Dutch city instead of Arusha in Tanzania, saying long-haul air travel would pose a health risk to the 85-year-old businessman because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I hereby amend the arrest warrant and order of transfer,” Arusha-based judge Iain Bonomy said, ordering the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals “to modify Kabuga’s conditions of detention to allow for his detention there.”

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Judge Bonomy cited “exceptional circumstances” in making the order, adding that it would be in the “interest of justice to order that Kabuga be transferred temporarily to… the Hague Branch for a detailed medical assessment.”

Kabuga, arrested near Paris in May after 25 years on the run, is being sought over his alleged role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide by Hutu extremists of some 800,000 minority Tutsis as well as moderate Hutus.

Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Kabuga is accused of having helped create the Interahamwe Hutu militia group and the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines, whose broadcasts incited people to murder, and of helping to buy machetes in 1993 that were distributed to genocidal groups.

His lawyers initially asked that he be put on trial in France, but late last month the country’s top court ruled that he could be transferred to the UN tribunal.

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“In view of recent developments, there has been a significant shift in the nature and degree of information related to the risks associated with transferring Kabuga to Arusha on a long-haul flight,” judge Bonomy said on Wednesday.

The judge however wrote that it was too early to speculate “whether and under what circumstances he may be safely transferred to the Arusha branch of the Mechanism for trial.”

“This is best left, in the first instance, to the sound discretion of the Registry’s medical staff,” the order said.

Kabuga’s lawyer Emmanuel Altit told AFP the decision to move his client to The Hague was an “important step in a complex process,” but added he was “very satisfied” with the judge’s decision.


#Newsworthy…

Production of medical cannabis strictly for exports – Rwanda speaks.

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Arrests for cannabis use are made on an almost daily basis in Rwanda, and doctors are forbidden from prescribing it as medicine.

Rwanda has approved the production of medical cannabis strictly for export, seeking to target fast-growing markets in the United States and European Union, even though its use remains illegal at home.

Guidelines for the production and export of medical cannabis were approved by the cabinet on Monday, and a government statement said Wednesday that it would not change strict local laws around marijuana consumption.

“Rwanda will begin to receive applications for licenses from interested investors for this high-value therapeutic crop. This investment framework does not affect the legal status of cannabis consumption in Rwanda, which remains prohibited,” the statement said.

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The Rwanda Development Board said several companies have tendered bids to begin mass production, as the tiny East African nation seeks a slice of the multi-billion-dollar medical cannabis market.

“We have interested investors that we are going to work with for the next few days now that we have guidelines in place to see how Rwanda can contribute to medicinal research in the world. US, Canada and the EU are big markets that we are seeing buying products,” the board’s CEO Clare Akamanzi told the state-run Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.

Authorities have yet to give details on when the production will begin, or where the cannabis farms will be located in the country, in which agriculture is the main employer.

Akamanzi said that anyone licenced to grow cannabis will be “required to have a very strong security program that has to be approved by our security organs”.

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“There will be strong measures including CCTV cameras, watchtowers, street lights and human security. This will ensure that the crop does not leave the farm to go to the local market,” she said.

“We are absolutely not going to allow any other use for the crop –- even recreational use –- other than medicinal research.”

Use of the narcotic can be punished with a jail term of two years, while those selling it can face up to 20 years in prison or even life imprisonment in “severe cases”, according to the country’s penal code.

“I fully support the government’s position to produce cannabis for medicinal purposes. But I believe it should be fully legalised,” Frank Habineza, leader of the opposition Green Party, told AFP.


#Newsworthy…

[Rwanda] Paul Kagame denies abduction of Paul Rusesabagina

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President says detained government critic ‘led himself’ to Rwanda, accuses him of of being a ‘terrorist’ leader.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame denies that a detained opposition figure who inspired the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda was kidnapped in order to be brought back to the country, saying he was responsible for his own arrest.

Paul Rusesabagina is credited for saving 1,200 lives during the country’s 1994 genocide by letting people shelter in the hotel he was managing during the mass killings.

The outspoken government critic is now accused of supporting rebel violence in Rwanda. His family and supporters say they have not been able to speak to him and that he has not had access to a lawyer nearly a week after he was paraded in front of the media in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, in handcuffs.

Appearing on national television on Sunday, Kagame did not explain how Rusesabagina – who had lived outside Rwanda since 1996 and is a citizen of Belgium and has a US permanent residence permit – was brought back.

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The 66-year-old’s family has said they believe he was “kidnapped” during a visit to Dubai and that he would never knowingly have boarded a plane to Kigali.

But Kagame suggested that Rusesabagina came of his own accord.

“What if someone told you that he brought himself – even if he may not have intended it? You will be surprised how he got here. He was not kidnapped or hoodwinked. His coming to Rwanda has more to do with himself than anybody else,” Kagame said.

The president suggested that Rusesabagina was told a story that fit into his expectations and ended up in Rwanda. “There was no kidnap in the process of bringing Rusesabagina here. It was actually flawless!” said Kagame. “When the time comes, he will tell the story himself but he led himself here.”

The Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation said Rusesabagina has had no consular visits, and it rejected the Rwandan government’s statement that it had talked to his sons about a potential visit as “not true”.

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“Paul’s wife has called the jail and has not been allowed to talk to him,” it said on Saturday.

The Rwandan government has said it issued an arrest warrant for Rusesabagina to answer charges of serious crimes including “terrorism”, arson, kidnap, and murder perpetrated against unarmed civilians. Police called him the suspected “founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits including the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change” (MRCD).

The MRCD has an armed wing, the National Liberation Front, that has been accused of attacks in 2018 and 2019. Rwanda arrested NLF spokesman Callixte Nsabimana last year.

“Rusesabagina heads a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans. He will have to pay for these crimes,” Kagame said on Sunday. “Rusesabagina has the blood of Rwandans on his hands.”

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Rusesabagina in the past has denied the charges that he financially supports Rwandan rebels, saying he is being targeted for criticising the Kagame government over human rights abuses.

Rwandan authorities have not publicly shared any international arrest warrant. They have referred to “international cooperation” but given no details.

Rusesabagina was paraded last week in front of media in handcuffs at the Kigali headquarters of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau [Clement Uwiringiyimana/Reuters]

No trial date set
Rusesabagina’s detention has prompted concern among human rights activists that this was the latest example of the Rwandan government targeting critics beyond its borders.

Rusesabagina has received several international honours, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, for helping to save lives during Rwanda’s genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

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The US government has said it expects the Rwandan government to provide “humane treatment, adhere to the rule of law and provide a fair and transparent legal process” for Rusesabagina.

It is not clear when Rusesabagina will appear in court. Rwandan law says a suspect can be in provisional detention for 15 days, renewable for up to 90 days.

Kagame said Rusesabagina’s trial will be held openly and conducted fairly.

“We are obligated to do this,” he said. “We want to do things in a right way.”


#Newsworthy…

Terrorism: Rwandan hero, Paul Rusesabagina arrested

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A Hero in Handcuffs
Paul Rusesabagina, in handcuffs before the Rwandan press in Kigali capital on Monday. The official police statement, “Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested.”

A hero held under suspicions of terrorism
The internationally honoured hero, portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda” as the saviour of almost 2000 people in 1994 during the country’s ethnocentric genocide ordeal, is under suspicions of founding and financially backing terrorist outfits behind heinous crimes against humanity on Rwandan soil.

“Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits including the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) operating out of various places in the region and abroad,” police said.

Accusations of Terroism
The police also informed that there was an international arrest warrant for Rusesabagina to answer to these accusations of serious crimes including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians. The officers did not, however, reveal where exactly Rusesabagina — who had been living outside Rwanda since 1996 in Belgium and then in Texas, United States, was apprehended.

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Rusesabagina — a vehement critic of the Rwandan government and an opponent to President Paul Kagame, is yet to be officially charged in court and has previously denied these government allegations that he financially supports Rwandan rebels.

Further Investigation
Police told the media in Kigali that further investigations against Rusesabagina are underway and more information will be released about his alleged activities.

The 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” showed Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi, as using his influence as a manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to allow more than 1,200 Tutsis to take shelter in the establishment’s hotel rooms. In the film, Rusesabagina was portrayed by actor Don Cheadle.

Paul Rusesabagina has won numerous international honours including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.


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#Newsworthy…

Just in: 117 stranded Nigerians in three east african countries returns

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A total of 117 Nigerians stranded in three East African countries as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have returned home.

They were brought back to the country on Sunday from Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The airplane which evacuated the returnees from the three East African countries touched down at about 3am at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

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A Nigerian airline, Azman Air, which conducted the evacuation exercise, announced the arrival of the returnees in an early-morning tweet.

In line with the guidelines of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on evacuation, the returnees are expected to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

At the end of the isolation period, they are also expected to take another test to ascertain their COVID-19 status before reuniting with the society.

US Evacuees Now 1,430
Their return to the country came barely a day after the Nigeria Government evacuated 300 more Nigerians stranded in the United States.

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The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in a tweet on Saturday, confirmed that a total of 300 citizens were brought back to the country.

According to the agency, the evacuation of the new set of returnees who also arrived at the international airport in Lagos via Ethiopian Airlines is the fifth from the US since the government began the exercise.

All the returnees had tested negative to COVID-19 before boarding the flight and would also observe the mandatory 14-day self-isolation as directed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The latest evacuation brings to 1,430 the total number of Nigerians who returned from the US.


#Newsworthy…

Rwandan Church assistant confesses setting ‘French Cathedral’ on fire

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A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the fire that severely damaged a Gothic cathedral in Nantes, western France, his lawyer said Sunday.

The 39-year-old, an asylum-seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was arrested Saturday after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the likely cause of the blaze, the local prosecutor’s office said.

“My client has cooperated,” lawyer Quentin Chabert told the Presse-Ocean newspaper, without elaborating on motives for attempting to burn down the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

“He bitterly regrets his actions… My client is consumed with remorse,” Chabert said.

Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry after the early morning fire on July 18 after finding that it broke out in three different places in the church, which the volunteer had locked up the night before.

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He was taken in for questioning the next day but later released without charge, with the cathedral’s rector saying “I trust him like I trust all the helpers.”

But Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes said in a statement Saturday that he had been charged with “destruction and damage by fire,” and faces up to 10 years in prison and 150,000 euros ($175,000) in fines.

“He admitted during his first appearance for questioning before the investigating judge that he set three fires in the cathedral: at the main organ, the smaller organ, and the electrical panel,” Sennes told Presse-Ocean on Sunday.

‘Stone by stone’
The blaze came 15 months after the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions about the security risks for other historic churches across France.

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While firefighters were able to contain the Nantes blaze after just two hours and save its main structure, the famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World War II bombardment, was destroyed.

Also lost were priceless artefacts and paintings, including a work by the 19th-century artist Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass.

Work on the cathedral began in 1434 and continued over the following centuries until 1891.

French police officers look at the partially burnt facade of the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral in Nantes, western France, on July 19, 2020. Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

It had already been damaged by a more serious fire in 1972 when officials added concrete reinforcements while redoing the roof over the next 13 years.

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The French government has said it will ensure the cathedral’s restoration, though very few if any, elements of the main organ are likely to be saved, said Philippe Charron, head of the regional DRAC state heritage agency.

“It will take several weeks to secure the site… and several months of inspections that will be carried out stone by stone,” he said.

Reconstruction will take several years, he said.

#Newsworthy…

Bots to start treating COVID-19 patients in Rwanda.


Rwanda is set to fight COVID-19 with humanoid robots that will help minimise risks of infections among health care workers, authorities.

Five anti-epidemic robots – named Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri – will be mainly used to administer temperature checks, monitor patient status, and keep medical records of COVID-19 patients, the Health Ministry announced in a series of tweets..

“These high-tech robots have the capacity to screen 50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities,” the ministry disclosed.

Health Minister Ngamije Daniel said the robots will fasten service delivery and help protect the lives of valuable health workers.

“Medics and other frontline workers visit patients’ room many times to deliver medication, meals, carry out tests, among other things – and this may increase their risk of contracting the virus,” he said.

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The robots are the result of joint efforts by the Rwandan Ministry of Information, Communications, Technology and Innovation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“The infectious nature of COVID-19 calls for technological innovations to tackle the pandemic. This is why Rwanda has introduced robots and drones among other high-tech initiatives to enhance efficiency in the fight,” ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire said.

UNDP representative Stephen Rodriques said the project marks the “beginning of a great collaboration and it’s part of a broader partnership” with the East African country.

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Rwanda, a major innovation and technology hub in Africa, has recorded 308 coronavirus cases so far, with zero deaths and 209 recoveries, according to official figures.

To date, more than 52,300 tests have been carried out in the country of over 12 million.


#Newsworthy…

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Rwanda and Uganda takes Mobile testing lab delivery from Germany


Uganda and Rwanda have taken delivery of two mobile diagnostic labs to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, the first in a network of German-funded units for East Africa, public investment bank KfW said Thursday.

While the project to procure the labs and train staff has been underway since 2018, “they’re arriving at exactly the right moment to help with fighting,” the virus, KfW board member Joachim Nagel said in a statement.

More of the mobile units “for speedy and modern diagnosis of infectious disease” will arrive in the six countries of the East African Community (EAC) region in the coming days, KfW said, for a total of nine in the first phase.

Under contract from the Development Ministry in Berlin, KfW has pumped 27 million euros ($29.1 million) into the project.

Lab staff from EAC countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda have undergone training at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for tropical medicine in Hamburg and in Tanzanian city Arusha.

Across Africa, only 25,461 people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus by 1900 GMT Wednesday, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

But the pandemic is still in its early stages on the continent, with fears the virus could spread quickly through densely populated cities and refugee camps.

German Development Minister Gerd Mueller urged Berlin to invest a further three billion euros in battling the pandemic in poorer countries, on top of just over one billion already earmarked.

Wealthy nations must help prevent “first hospitals and then entire states collapsing,” Mueller told the Funke newspaper group.

“Hunger, unrest and, in the end, uncontrollable refugee movements” could result otherwise, he warned.

Germany has begun easing curbs on public life after ministers said the contagion had been brought under control.

Rapid and widespread testing of the population for cases has been at the centre of Berlin’s containment strategy.


#Newsworthy..

AGF, Abubakar Malami set to represent Buhari at Anti-Corruption Excellence Award In Rwanda.

…Nigeria is also invited to attend Kusi Idea Festival

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is to represent President Muhammadu Buhari at the fourth edition of the Sheikh Tamim International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award ceremony holding on Monday, December 9 in Kigali, Rwanda.

President Buhari will be attending the award ceremony which is part of activities to mark the annual International Anti-corruption Day, in his capacity as the African Union (AU) Champion of the fight against corruption.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The statement disclosed that Malami would deliver President Buhari’s address to world leaders on Nigeria’s giant strides and positive development in the fight against corruption.

“Nigeria is also invited to attend Kusi Idea Festival tagged ‘the next sixty-years in Africa’, which the government of Rwanda is hosting in collaboration with the Rwandan Nation Media Group expected to address world leaders,” the media aide said.

The statement noted that the International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award is presented to individuals and institutions for their contribution to the global fight against corruption at local, national or international level.

The event is the fourth edition of the Sheikh Tamim International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award and is organized by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center, Doha, Qatar.

“The Anti-Corruption Excellence Award (ACE Award) serves as a tool to highlight exemplary and noteworthy actions and good practices on a global platform and to assess, promote, collect, and disseminate anti-corruption models from all over the world.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who would be on working visit in Rwanda, is expected to be handing out the awards to winners from all over the world.

Four categories of the ACE Award are presented, in recognition of the diverse efforts and areas of excellence in the global fight against corruption,” the statement added.

The categories include Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement, Innovation, Academic Research and Education, and Youth Creativity and Engagement.
According to the organizers of the annual event, the ACE Award aims to raise awareness, support and solidarity to combat corruption and to encourage new initiatives in pursuit of corruption-free societies.

#Newsworthy…