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Rwanda Searches for Motive After 14 Are Killed in Tourist Region

Rwanda Searches for Motive After 14 Are Killed in Tourist Region

(Bloomberg) — Rwanda is questioning suspects to try and establish why militants staged a rare attack in its northern mountainous region known for gorilla trekking, one of the nation’s main tourist attractions.

At least 14 people where killed in the Friday attack in Musanze district, about 58 miles northwest of the capital, Kigali. Nineteen of the attackers were killed and five arrested, according to the National Police. The militants are members of Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda or FDLR, a rebel group based in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the police said.

“We are interrogating the suspects at the moment to establish what their motive was,” police spokesman John Bosco Kabera said Monday by phone. “We don’t know what exactly motivated them.” 

Rwanda’s economy is among Africa’s fastest-growing, partly driven by its tourism sector that President Paul Kagame helped build as part of a recovery programme after the genocide in 1994. The nation started an airline, built a convention center and hotels, signed a sponsorship deal with English Premier League soccer team Arsenal and is constructing a new airport in bid to boost tourism as a step to attaining middle-income status by 2035.

All visitors to Volcanoes National Park in the region, “were and continue to be safe,” state-run Rwanda Development Board said in a statement. Thousands of guests have visited the park over the past two decades and there have been no security incidents, according to the statement.

Mountain Gorillas

There are fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world and the primates can only be found around the border of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC, and in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Rwanda is monitoring 329 of the primates in its territory, its tourism agency said in August.

Security has been restored in the area and the hunt for the attackers continues, the police said in a statement on its Twitter account earlier.

The FDLR, which is accused of participating in the genocide 25 years ago, remains active but there haven’t been any reports of a raid by the group on Rwandan soil this year.

(Updates with comment from police spokesman in third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Saul Butera in Kigali at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Malingha at [email protected], Hilton Shone

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