Rwandan court denies bail to Congolese refugees accused of inciting violence

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A court in southern Rwanda on Monday denied bail to 22 Congolese refugees who are facing charges of inciting violence during the February protests at Kiziba refugee camp located in the western part of the country.

Muhanga High Court in Muhanga district ruled that the refugees be detained for a further 30 days as requested by the prosecution to allow more time for investigations to be conducted.

Having earlier been remanded for 30 days by a lower court, the defence lawyer had sought an order from the high court to have the refugees released on bail.

The presiding judge reportedly said court had concurred with prosecution argument that the suspects might evade justice once released on bail.

Five people were killed during the February protests, with 22 others wounded as refugees demonstrated against the reduction of food rations.

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, however, said in March that protests were caused by different purposes.

She said the refugees were not only protesting against the reduced rations but also wanted to return to their home country or be resettled in Europe and America while maintaining their original citizenships.

The Rwandan government on Monday said in a statement it has disbanded the refugees’ executive committee at Kiziba Refugee Camp to normalize the situation in the camp following its recent unrest.

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