Family of Rwandan journalist arrested in Mozambique call for help

Mr Cassien Ntamuhanga. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Cassien Ntamuhanga, a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame was arrested May 23, 2012 from his place at Inhaca Island in Maputo.

The family of a Rwandan journalist who had sought refuge in Mozambique before his arrest two weeks ago wants him released.

Mr Cassien Ntamuhanga, a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame was reportedly arrested May 23, 2012 from his place at Inhaca Island in Maputo.

His brother Mr James Kabagyema who also fled Rwanda in 2018 and came to Uganda with his ailing mother said they want the government of Mozambique to explain why Ntamuhanga was arrested.

 “We want to know if he is still alive because they picked him from his home and we do not know where he is,” he said.  

Mr Kabagyema said ‘‘10 plain clothed security personnel among whom were four speaking Kinyarwanda pretended to have gone to buy a pig from a piggery project where they arrested him.’’

The DW Africa news agency Tuesday quoted the Director of Mozambique Centre for Democracy Development, Mr Adrian Nvunga saying there are fears that Mr Ntamuhanga could be extradited to Rwanda.

Mr Kabagyema said they confiscated his laptop, phones, refugee card, a passport and documents from his house.

“We are getting unconfirmed reports that he was taken to the Rwandan embassy in Maputo and this would be sad because that would mean there is a plan to illegally extradite him,” he said.

Mr Ntamuhanga, a former Rwandan journalist with a religious radio station called Amazing Grace, was arrested in 2015 alongside the late musician Kizito Mihigo who was later found dead after his release in February 2020.

 Mr Ntamuhanga managed to flee to Mozambique in 2017 and sought asylum.  In 2018, his mother and Mr Kabagyema fled to Uganda.

 Mr Kabagyema said that as a refugee, the government of Mozambique should protect him based on international law which requires host governments to ensure safety and security of refugees.