Forbidden Stories and its partners have conducted extensive investigations into the repressive mechanisms of the Rwandan regime under President Paul Kagame. The investigation highlights various human rights abuses, including assassination attempts, suspicious deaths, intimidation, and the use of surveillance technology against both domestic critics and members of Kagame’s party.

In 2022, Rwandan journalists John Williams Ntwali and Samuel Baker Byansi investigated the presence of Rwandan troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a topic the Rwandan government vehemently denies. Shortly after publishing their findings, Byansi was arrested and interrogated about his trip to the DRC. Although released, the threats forced him to flee the country. In January 2023, Ntwali died under mysterious circumstances in Kigali, officially in a car accident, but doubts persist about the true cause of his death.

These cases are not isolated. Other victims of the regime’s repression include YouTubers Yvonne Idamange and Aimable Karasira, who are imprisoned; former journalist and asylum seeker Cassien Ntamuhanga, missing since 2021; journalist Dieudonné Niyonsenga (alias Cyuma), currently imprisoned under allegedly inhumane condition.

Forbidden Stories’ Rwanda Classified project, coordinated by a consortium of 50 journalists from 17 media outlets in 11 countries, aims to shed light on these untold stories. The project also investigates the Rwandan government’s unacknowledged involvement in the DRC, revealing the plight of Rwandan soldiers killed in North Kivu.

Furthermore, Rwanda Classified examines Rwanda’s relationships with democracies worldwide. Despite its heavy reliance on international aid, Rwanda is often dubbed a “miracle country” due to its rapid post-genocide reconstruction and development. As the 30th anniversary of the 1994 Tutsi genocide approaches, and with presidential elections slated for July, the project delves into the “Rwandan paradox”—its attractiveness despite repressive policies. The investigation explores economic partnerships, judicial cooperation on migration issues, and Rwanda’s influence through UN peacekeeping contributions.

In 2024, Rwanda ranks 144th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. Through Rwanda Classified, Forbidden Stories and its partners scrutinize the Kigali regime’s repressive policies.

On May 28, 2024, the Rwandan government issued a statement addressing the media campaign by Forbidden Stories. The statement, made in Kigali, emphasizes that Rwandans are accustomed to facing politically motivated and hostile media campaigns, particularly around election periods.

The government reiterates its stance of not responding to these accusations, which it claims to have refuted multiple times. It highlights ongoing attempts to protect the genocidal militia FDLR along the western border in the DRC, framing these as efforts to undermine Rwanda and support regime change in the DRC.

The statement concludes by affirming Rwanda’s political unity and resilience. The government assures that Rwanda’s democratic processes will continue, allowing Rwandans to choose their leaders confidently and peacefully.