Kigali - An increasing number of people have been
forcibly disappeared or have been reported missing in Rwanda since March 2014,
Human Rights Watch said in a report on Friday, blaming the national army for
some of the cases.
The US-based rights group said it had documented
"detailed accounts of 14 people who have been forcibly disappeared or who
have been reported missing" in Rubavu, a district in the Rwanda's Western
Province, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It also said there were "indications of involvement
of state agents in the disappearances".
"Enforced disappearances are a heinous crime, not
least because of the anguish and suffering they cause to family and
friends," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"Rwandan police and judicial authorities have strict
and absolute obligations to thoroughly investigate any case of enforced
disappearance," he said, adding that Rwandan officials told HRW that they
were investigating the cases "but have not provided any information on the
progress or results of their investigations”.
According to HRW, some of those detained may have been
suspected of links to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda
(FDLR), Rwandan Hutu rebels who include the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide
in their ranks and who are based in the forests of neighbouring DR Congo.
"Since 2010, Human Rights Watch has documented a
number of cases of people accused of being FDLR members or collaborators, or
charged with state security offences, and who were detained incommunicado by
the military and forced to confess to crimes, or implicate others, sometimes
under torture," the statement said.
The allegations come as Rwanda continues to mark the 20th
anniversary of the genocide, but also amid mounting criticism of the alleged
suppression of political dissent by Rwanda's strongman President Paul Kagame.
Kagame's regime has also been accused of assassinating
opposition figures and dissidents who are based abroad, charges the authorities
in Kigali have strongly denied.