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Kizito Mihigo, a Rwandan singer previously convicted of conspiring to kill Rwandan President Kagame, has died in a prison cell days after he was detained over an attempt to illegally cross to Burundi.

In a statement issued Monday, Rwanda National Police (RNC) Spokesperson CP JB Kabera said Mihigo had hanged himself, adding that the artist’s body was found hanging in his prison cell at Ramera Police Station.

A Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) preliminary report says Mihigo had used bedsheets to strangle himself.

On Friday, RIB arrested Mihigo, 39, in Nyaruguru District close to two years since President Kagame pardoned him.

RIB said Mihigo was charged with attempting to illegally cross into Burundi, joining terrorist groups and corruption. The Bureau claimed Mihigo had tried to bribe locals with Rwf300,000 not to inform authorities that he was headed for Burundi.

Some of the musician’s relatives moved to Burundi during the 1994 genocide in which his parents were slain.

Mihigo started singing at an early age, rising to become one of the most celebrated gospel musicians in Rwanda.

Losing his parents in the bloodletting killings, the singer sought to join the army as a way of punishing those who had murdered his people. However, Mihigo’s application to join the army was rejected.

He made an attempt at priesthood, concentrated on his music and claimed he had forgiven those who slew his parents.

But in 2015, the songster was convicted of conspiring to murder President Kagame, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Mihigo admitted he had been working with the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition group based outside the country.

While the singer’s sentence was reduced for his admission of guilt, his co-accused, Cassien Ntamuhanga, a Christian radio station director, denied the charges and was handed 25 years behind bars for terrorism and incitement.

Three years later, Kagame commuted Mihigo’s sentence as well as those of over 2,000 convicts.



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