Police in Rwanda on Thursday arrested six people, among them a popular YouTuber and three members of the opposition for spreading rumours with the intention of undermining the government.
The arrests come just two weeks after a court sentenced a 42 year old popular genocide survivor and YouTube commentator to 15 years in prison for inciting violence by criticising the President, Paul Kagame.
Yvonne Idamage, a mother of four, was jailed for 15 years and ordered to pay a fine equivalent to $2,000 after she was convicted of six charges. She had accused the President and the government of dictatorship.
Read: Rwandan Youtuber Handed 15-year Jail Term for Critical Comments on President Kagame
The latest arrest targeted opposition members and a popular YouTuber going by the name Nsengimana Theoneste. He owns a channel dubbed Umubavu TV which has over 16 million views.
Reports indicate that the channel had been urging citizens to denounce human rights abuses instigated by government.
“They are an organised group with the intention to spread rumours intended to cause uprising or unrest among the population using different social media platforms,” Thierry Murangira, spokesman for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), told AFP Thursday.
Read: Activists Suspect Foul Play In Rwandan Singer Kizito Mihigo’s Death In Police Cells
RIB issued a statement urging Rwandans to be wary of social media individuals seeking to undermine national security.
“Anyone arrested will be prosecuted in accordance with the law,” the statement said.
Among the six arrested are three members of the unregistered opposition party, Dalfa Umurunzi (Development and Liberty for All.
The Rwandan authority has in the past few weeks come down hard on YouTube channel owners who have published content that is critical of Kagame’s government.
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