Nick Benson


Catholic gospel singer found dead in police cell in Rwanda

A popular Catholic gospel singer was found dead in a police cell in Kigali, Rwanda, in what authorities said was a suicide.

Kizito Mihigo, 38, died on 17th February, three days after he was arrested for allegedly fleeing the country to join a rebel group in neighbouring Burundi and for allegedly trying to bribe those who arrested him.

His body was found hanging from the window of his cell, where he had been confined alone.

Marie Michelle Umuhoza, Rwanda Investigation Bureau spokeswoman, was quoted by Rwanda’s The New Times saying Mihigo had displayed “signs of a depressed person”.

Mihigo was viewed as one of Rwanda’s biggest cultural icons. Mihigo, an ethnic Tutsi, was a survivor of the 1994 genocide during which 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed; he produced a song that promoted forgiveness and healing.

In 2014, he was arrested and later sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to kill President Paul Kagame and other senior leaders. He pleaded guilty to the charges. He received a presidential pardon in 2018.

Picture: Rwandan singer Kizito Mihigo talks to reporters after his release from prison in Kigali on 15th September 2018. The popular Catholic gospel singer was found dead on 17th February 2020, in a police cell in Kigali in what authorities said was a suicide. (CNS photo/Jean Bizimana, Reuters).