Jailed Rwandan Artiste Mihigo Found Dead in Police Cell


Rwandan prominent musician Kizito Mihigo, who was recently arrested and detained on allegations that he tried to escape to Burundi, has died.

Mihigo was Monday morning found dead in a police cell, authorities said.

Rwandan Police in statement said it believed that the 39-year-old popular singer committed suicide.

The body of the singer, police says, was found hanging at around 5am in the morning at Ramera Police Station.

Mihigo had been in detention since late last week having been arrested in Nyaruguru District.

In the statement, Rwanda Police said the singer was being held for trying to cross the border illegally.

It however remains unclear why he would choose to escape via Burundi considering the border area has been flooded with security agents since rebels started attacking Rwanda two years ago. 

In 2018,Mihugo was released among 2140 other convicts under a directive from President  Paul Kagame.

Mihigo had been found guilty of conspiracy to murder or harm President Kagame and other top leaders of the country.

His arrest and subsequent prosecution in 2014 came after releasing a critical song which was immediately prohibited by Rwandan authorities.



The deceased started singing at the age of 9.

Five years later, when he was studying in secondary school at the Petit Seminaire de Butare, he became the most popular liturgical organist and composer of the Catholic Church in Rwanda.

In 1994, Mihigo was orphaned in the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda. He escaped to Burundi where he met surviving members of his family, and tried unsuccessfully to join the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) to avenge his family.

In July 1994, Mihigo returned to Rwanda. After high school, he enrolled at the seminary to become a priest, and through music and the Christian faith, he managed to forgive those who killed his father.

Mihigo’s close relationship with the government attracted criticism from his Christian fans, who were disappointed by their liturgical composer’s possible deviation towards politically oriented themes.

However, in 2011, the singer tried to reassure his fans.

His religious concerts attracted a large number of people in Kigali and Kibeho, Mihigo’s birthplace.

Such events were often celebrated in the presence of different ministers. In 2011, Mihigo’s most popular concerts were those for Easter and Christmas.

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