“Rwanda Classified”: Violent Reactions from Kigali and Supporters Legitimize the Investigation

John Willams Ntwali

On May 28, 2024, the global release of the investigation “Rwanda Classified” sparked immediate and violent reactions. This investigation, conducted by 50 journalists from 17 different media outlets, uncovers a transnational repression system established by Paul Kagame’s regime to silence dissenting voices in both Europe and Africa.

Rwandan journalists and political opponents often face intimidation or disappear under suspicious circumstances, far beyond Rwanda’s borders. “Rwanda Classified” sheds light on these practices and exposes the systematic harassment orchestrated by the Rwandan government.

Following the publication of “Rwanda Classified”, an investigation triggered by the suspicious death of Rwandan investigative journalist John Williams Ntwali, the Rwandan government and its supporters responded swiftly. The government issued an official statement, and several Rwandan leaders spoke out to contest the revelations of the investigation. However, the most virulent attacks occurred on social media, where violent threats were directed at those involved in the investigation, particularly Rwandan journalist Samuel Baker Byansi.

On May 30, 2024, “Forbidden Stories”, one of the investigation’s partners, released a statement condemning this campaign of threats and intimidation. The statement reads:

“Since the publication of our investigation Rwanda Classified, our colleague, Rwandan journalist Samuel Baker Byansi, has been the target of serious threats against him and his family. Forbidden Stories and its partners denounce these despicable threats against a journalist and his loved ones. We stand with Samuel and his family. These threats mirror what the 50 journalists involved in the Rwanda Classified project documented while investigating the transnational repression system of Paul Kagame’s regime.”

This statement highlights the severity of the threats faced by journalists and their families and reaffirms the unwavering support of the journalistic community for Samuel Baker Byansi and all those who dare to oppose Paul Kagame’s regime.

Apart from the widespread indignation following the publication of this investigation, on May 29, 2024, Dutch MPs requested the government to summon the Rwandan Ambassador to the Netherlands, Olivier Nduhungirehe, who was personally mentioned in the investigation.

The “Rwanda Classified” investigation and the reactions it has provoked highlight the challenges and dangers journalists face in their pursuit of truth and justice. This situation calls for international awareness and mobilization to protect journalists and defend freedom of expression.