KIGALI, May 1 — A court in southern Rwanda Monday denied bail to 22 Congo refugees who are accused of inciting violence during the February protests at Kiziba refugee camp in western Rwanda, local media reported.
Muhanga High Court in Muhanga district ruled that the refugees should be remanded for a further 30 days as requested by prosecution to allow them more time to compile evidence, according to local media.
The refugees had earlier been remanded for 30 days by a lower court. The defense lawyer had asked the high court to release the refugees on bail after 30 days elapsed last week.
Presiding judge reportedly said court had concurred with prosecution argument that the suspects might evade justice once released on bail.
In February, five people were killed and 22 others wounded as protests over reduced food rations by refugees from the Kiziba refugee camp turned violent, according to the police. But Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in March protests were caused by different purposes.
The refugees were not only protesting the reduced food rations — some also wanted to return to home country or to be resettled in Europe and America while maintaining Rwandan citizenship, she said.
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.
Preliminary findings have established that the executive committee was largely to blame for the unrest in the camp hosting refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), said the statement.
It has been mobilizing refugees to revolt against government officials and partner institutions, denying them access to the camp and causing disorder among the refugees, said the statement.