Charles Ingabire

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On December 1, 2011, Charles Ingabire, 32, an exiled Rwandan journalist and founder of the online Inyenyeri News, was shot dead outside a bar in the suburbs of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, according to local journalists and news reports. At around 2:00 a.m., multiple assailants shot him twice in the lower abdomen, according to those reports.

In 2008, Ingabire launched the Inyenyeri News website from Kampala. He previously lived in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, working as a reporter for the now-banned independent weekly Umoco and running a company that granted small loans to local businesses. In 2007, he left Kigali for Kampala and worked as a correspondent for the Rwandan weekly Umuvugizi.

On December 3, 2011, police said that they had arrested two suspects to “help with investigations,” according to the privately-owned Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. It is unclear whether those individuals were ever prosecuted.

In a June 2018 report, the Daily Monitor cited an unnamed source who claimed that Ingabire had been “lured” to the bar by another Rwandan exile, Rene Rutagungira. According to the source, who said he had spoken to Ingabire’s wife, Rutagungira had promised to introduce Ingabire to members of the M23 rebel group, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is unclear from the report whether the two were to discuss those interviews on the night of Ingabire’s death.

Rutagungira was detained in Uganda in August 2017, and is facing charges of kidnapping and illegally repatriating Rwandan refugees and exiles, according to media reports. He remains in detention as of August 2019, according to those reports.

The Daily Monitor source claimed that they shared details of Rutagungira’s alleged involvement in the Ingabire’s murder with former Ugandan police chief Kale Kayihura, who is also facing charges of colluding with Rwandan security personnel to kidnap Rwandan nationals in Uganda, according to media reports.

Rwandan officials have alleged that the arrests of Rwandan nationals in Uganda, including Rutagungira, are unjustified and part of a “witch-hunt,” according to a March 2019 report by The EastAfrican, a weekly sister publication of the Daily Monitor. The Rwandan pro-government New Times newspaper has said that Rutagungira is among “innocent” Rwandans victimized and tortured in Uganda, and has claimed that Uganda is detaining him in violation of his rights.

In October 2011, unknown assailants attacked Ingabire, demanding he shutter his website, news reports said. Inyenyeri News was highly critical of the Rwandan government and extensively covered the Rwandan military, often publishing interviews with exiled Rwandan soldiers.

Ingabire was survived by his wife and five-month-old daughter.