A gunman shot Rugambage, acting editor of the independent
tabloid Umuvugizi, twice in the neck
as he drove through the gate of his home in the Nyamirambo district of the capital,
Local journalists told CPJ that Rugambage had been preparing
to join Umuvugizi Editor Jean-Bosco
Gasasira in exile after reporting to friends and colleagues that he was being
followed and had received phone threats. Rugambage was the last Umuvugizi journalist remaining in
Days after the killing, security forces rounded up two suspects and lodged murder charges. Speaking at a press conference, Internal Security Minister Moussa Fazil Harelimana said one of the suspects "admitted guilt. ... He told the police he committed the act to take revenge against this journalist, who killed his brother in the 1994 Tutsi genocide," Agence France-Presse reported. The suspects were convicted on homicide charges in November, but journalists expressed deep skepticism about the government's case.
In 2007, a traditional "gacaca"
court had cleared Rugambage of any involvement in the genocide, according to
local journalists. Rugambage had been the target of official persecution over
several years because of his critical coverage of the government, CPJ research
showed. While working as a reporter for the now-defunct independent
tabloid Umuco, Rugambage was imprisoned for 11 months in 2005-06 over a
story alleging mismanagement and witness tampering in
Rugambage, 34, was survived by a wife and a 2-year-old daughter, according to local journalists.