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Rwanda’s gospel musician found dead in police cell

A Rwandan gospel musician, Kizito Mihigo, who was taken into custody last week after he reportedly attempted to flee the country was found dead in a police cell at the Remera police station.

The 38-year gospel musician was found dead in a cell Monday morning.

His death comes three days after he was arrested near the border with Burundi.

Mr Mihigo was accused of attempting to flee the country, with the intent of joining rebel groups fighting against Rwanda.

He was charged with corruption and illegal border crossing.

He was subsequently banned from leaving the country due to a previous conviction.

A police spokesman, JB Kabeera, in a statement shared on social media said Mihigo’s body was found during a routine check by officers at Remera police station on Monday morning.

The Rwanda Investigation Bureau accused the singer of attempting to bribe people.

A resident in the south-western Nyaruguru district told BBC Great Lakes that on Thursday villagers had stopped the musician, who was carrying a heavy bag, and handed him over to police.

“I was there, I saw him. Villagers who stopped him said he was trying to cross to Burundi using illegal roads. From here to the border it’s less than five minutes’ walk,” the resident, who declined to be named, said.

Earlier in 2015, the singer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of planning to kill President Paul Kagame and inciting hatred against the government.

He was pardoned by the president in 2018 on condition that he only leaves the country with judicial permission.

Mihigo was once close to the governing Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party.

He is a survivor of the 1994 genocide and is well known for his reconciliation work and religious songs.

Mihigo was best known for the songs Inuma (pigeon) and Igisobanuri cy’urupfu (the meaning of death).

Meanwhile, some of Mihigo’s fans took to social media demanding answers from the government about his death.

Find below some reactions from his fans

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