September 6, 2017 / 7:36 PM / 3 years ago

Rwanda arrests supporters of jailed opposition figure

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwandan police have arrested supporters of jailed opposition figure Victoire Ingabire who they said were planning to join an armed group in a neighboring country.

Ingabire was jailed for 15 years in 2012 for conspiring to form an armed group to undermine the government and for seeking to minimize the 1994 genocide.

Among the seven people arrested was Boniface Twagirimana, the vice president of Ingabire’s party, and Leonille Gasengayire, a member of the party - FDU-Inkingi - which has never been registered as an official political movement, the police said on Wednesday.

Both have in the past accused the government of killing or being behind the disappearance of party members, which the government denies.

Ingabire returned from exile in the Netherlands to contest a presidential election in January 2010 but was barred from standing after being accused of genocide denial.

More than 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda when an ethnic Hutu-led government and ethnic militias went on a 100-day massacre.

Afterwards, President Paul Kagame, who won a third term last month, was lauded for bringing economic improvements but he has faced increasing accusations of widespread human rights abuses, suppression of the political opposition and muzzling the media.

Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and Robin Pomeroy

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