Rubavu: RDF Soldier Kills Young Boy, Community Demands Justice

In the serene village of Bugu, nestled within the Cyanzarwe sector of the Busigari locality, Rubavu district, Rwanda, a somber atmosphere has taken hold following a heartrending event on the morning of April 4, 2024. The community was plunged into mourning after a distressing incident where a soldier from the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) fatally shot 15-year-old Maniragaba Samuel, shaking the very foundation of trust and security among the villagers.

The incident swiftly garnered the attention of various security forces, including the army, police, and the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), alongside local authorities, underscoring the gravity of the situation. As details emerged, it was reported by the Voice of America that the community’s response was one of both grief and outrage. The soldier, identified as Paul, was reported to have discharged his weapon at Samuel, striking him in the chest with fatal consequences. The precise motivations behind this act remain unclear, with discrepancies between official accounts and eyewitness reports, further fueling the community’s anguish.

Ishimwe Pacifique, tasked with overseeing citizen welfare in Rubavu district, provided an account that starkly contrasted with the narratives shared by local residents. This incident has not only caused immediate grief but has also raised pressing concerns regarding the dynamics between military personnel and civilians in this border region adjacent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A locale already strained by insecurity owing to the presence of various armed factions is now faced with a newfound source of fear.

The tragedy has left the villagers feeling betrayed by the RDF, a force they once regarded as protectors. This sentiment was vividly expressed in interviews with the Voice of America, where locals articulated their fears of an eroding distinction between friend and foe, potentially spiraling into an environment rife with fear and insecurity.

In response to this tragedy, the people of Rubavu are calling for decisive action from their leaders. They advocate for a reaffirmation of the RDF’s fundamental duties, emphasizing the paramount importance of safeguarding civilian lives and ensuring their security.