Body of former Rwanda King repatriated for burial

Kigali: The body of Rwanda’s last monarch King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa arrived in Rwanda on Monday, ahead of the burial yet to be communicated, following the ruling of US court that the King would be buried in his motherland.

A court in US state of Virginia on Friday brought to an end to prolonged disagreements between close relations of the king that ensued after the death of the 80-year-old ruler on October 16, 2016 in Virginia, Xinhua reported.

One faction wanted the king buried in the United States while others preferred Rwanda.

Various meetings took place in Rwanda and the US to try to find common ground, but neither side wanted to compromise. They decided to seek court intervention.

Boniface Benzinge, a former aide and confidante of the king, led the group opposing the repatriation saying the King had wished not to be buried in Rwanda. However, in court, the group failed to provide any documents upholding their position.

Nevertheless, King Kigeli’s only surviving sibling, his half sister Speciosa Mukabayojo led the faction that supported the repatriation of the remains of the last monarchy to Rwanda for burial.

After four days of court deliberations, the group led by Mukabayojo won the case arguing that the King had not obtained citizenship of any other country since he fled into exile in 1961, an indication that he still loved his country of birth and hoped to return some day.

“Now, given that the Virginia Court has just ruled in favour of the body of the King being turned over to the half-sister, who is supported by the Rwandan government, to be buried in Rwanda, the Royal Council informs that in protest against this decision,” a statement by the King’s estate was quoted as saying.

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