Lionel-NishimweThe African Great Lakes Action Network along with Global Campaign for Rwandans' Human Rights is announcing the disappearance of Lionel Nishimwe, a 24-year-old Rwandan lawyer and former representative of Rwandan refugees in Zambia.

We are extremely concerned that his life might be in danger.

Lionel Nishimwe has been out of reach of all contact since February 9, 2017. Prior to his disappearance, he contacted both of our organizations, AGLAN and the Global Campaign, and reported that his life was in danger. At that time, he was attempting to hide from agents of the Rwandan intelligence services whom he claimed were hunting him down.

Prior to February 9, 2017, Mr. Nishimwe had provided both of our organizations with statements detailing reasons behind Rwandan intelligence services' pursuit to harm him. According to Mr. Nishimwe, the central reason for his being pursued was his refusal to provide false testimony against refugees residing in Zambia after the Rwandan intelligence services paid more than FRW 2,000,000 to repatriate and host him in Kigali Diplomat Hotel.
He also provided additional important documentation to confirm those reasons as well as sponsorship by the Rwandan National Intelligence Security Services (NISS).
Mr. Nishimwe also provided our organizations with names of refugees in Zambia whom he was pressured to testify against, including some of the accusations he was being coerced to provide.

Having received this information, we believe that Mr. Nishimwe’s life is in danger, and his disappearance is of extreme concern to our organizations.

We ask that the Rwandan National Security Services inform the public of Mr. Nishimwe's whereabouts. We would also like to reiterate that due process and rule of law should be followed if Mr. Nishimwe has been arrested.

If you have any information regarding Lionel Nishimwe's whereabouts, we urge you to please contact us by email at and

Tennessee: 28th February 2017

Background: Lionel Nishimwe was previously an advocate of Rwandan Refugees in Zambia and a well-known critic of the Rwandan government through his articles and blog posts. In May 2016, he was persuaded to repatriate to Rwanda, stop his advocacy for refugees, end his criticism of the government and testify against refugees he formerly advocated for. He is a Law School graduate from Cavendish University in Zambia.

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