The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye has spoken out on recent concerns of use of excessive force in law enforcement, pointing out that the Government of Rwanda will work to address the challenge through policy and operational measures.
Minister Busingye made the commitment on Saturday following growing concerns by members of the public over recent cases in which unarmed misbehaving suspects are shot by police while attempting to apprehend them.
The issue has been of concern since the beginning of the year where several suspects have been shot attempting to escape from custody or trying to fight law enforcement officers as they go about their duties. Busingye said fatally shooting suspects is not lawful.
“The use of excessive or deadly force against unarmed detainees/suspects is illegal and inappropriate. We are working with @Rwandapolice and concerned institutions to reign it in through policy and operational measures, intensified accountability, training and effective oversight,” Busingye made the assurances on Twitter on Saturday.
Busingye made the commitment following social media complaints against use of excessive force by the police on social media over the last two weeks, following the shooting of two suspects, the most recent being on Friday, in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge district.
Police shot and killed a one Boy Munyaneza, a suspect who was detained at Kimisagara Police Station who allegedly attempted to escape from custody through Mpazi Ravine, prompting officers on duty to fire bullets at him.
Munyaneza reportedly asked for permission to go to the toilet only for him to jump into the drainage channel which pours into River Nyabugogo.
The incident followed another one on Sunday, August 30th, in Zaza Sector, Ngoma district, in Eastern Province, in which a police officer shot and killed Evariste Nsengiyumva, who allegedly tried to fight police officers who were enforcing measures against the New Coronavirus.
Police got a tip off that Nsengiyumva and others were in a certain house, whose owner had turned into a bar, drinking past the hour of 7pm.
When cops raided the house, it is alleged that while others fled or were arrested in the act, Nsengiyumva attempted to fight and disarm a police officer who reacted by firing. The incident enraged many who took to social media.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) on August 31, said it had arrested the officer involved while investigations into the incident were being conducted.
“Police has arrested the officer involved in the shooting of Nsengiyumva Evariste, a resident of Zaza sector, Ngoma district. The incident took place last evening at 20:30 hrs during an operation to enforce directives against the spread of COVID-19,”
“Investigations are underway to establish the circumstances of the shooting,” Police tweeted as many demanded for action and accountability against the shooters while others urged police to use alternative ways to apprehend errant suspects other than fatally shooting them.