Monday, February 6

Hundreds attend the burial of Rwandan government critic

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Hundreds of people on Sunday attended the funeral of John Ntwali Williams, a critic of the Rwandan government who died last week in, what police say, was the result of a road accident in the capital, Kigali.

Rights groups have called for an independent investigation into the circumstance of his death.

The funeral was attended by friends and family alongside local journalists and opposition figures like Frank Habineza, Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda.

“We will never forget your valuable contribution in promoting freedom of media and speech in a challenging environment,” Ms Ingabire said in her eulogy.

Police said Mr Ntwali died on the spot in a road accident on Tuesday night when a motorcycle taxi he had boarded was hit by a car.

The driver of the car was arrested, police added.

But Human Rights Watch said that “there are many reasons to question” the police narrative and called for an “international expertise to determine whether or not he was murdered”.

Who was the late journalist?

Mr Ntwali, 43, had worked at local radio stations, newspapers and online news sites.

At the time of his death, he was an editor at The Chronicles, but also owned a YouTube channel – Pax TV-Ireme News.

He was critical of the government and the ruling party in his reports that focused on justice and human rights, which drew harassment and death threats against him, he said.

He openly questioned state policies like taxes on land, arrests of opposition politicians and YouTubers, and questioned the death of singer Kizito Mihigo – a government critic.

His critics called him “an extremist journalist”.

Mr Ntwali had previously claimed that he survived “staged road accidents” and “death threats from state agents”.

The authorities did not comment on his claims.

Source: BBC

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