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King Kigeli’s body in Rwanda ahead of burial

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The body of King Kigeli was escorted by the police to the King Faisal Hospital where it will lie as plans for the funeral are finalised. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

The body of King Kigeli was escorted by the police to the King Faisal Hospital where it will lie as plans for the funeral are finalised. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By Edmund Kagire

Posted  Monday, January 9   2017 at  19:29

In Summary

  • King Kigeli V, who died on October 16 in Virginia, US, aged 80, will be buried at the Nyanza Palace on Wednesday.

The remains of Rwanda’s last monarch, King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, arrived in Kigali on Monday, four days after a United States court ruled that he be buried at home.

The plane, an Ethiopian Airways flight, carrying the casket containing the body of the late king landed at the Kigali International Airport at 1pm. Among those lined up to receive the king’s remains were relatives and government officials including the secretary-general of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi, Mr Francois Ngarambe and the Minister of Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu.

The body was immediately put on a hearse and escorted by the police to the King Faisal Hospital where it will lie as plans for the funeral are finalised.

The Executive Secretary of Rwanda Academy of Languages and Culture (RALC), Dr James Vuningoma said the monarch will be given a befitting send-off “in line with the country’s culture”.

King Kigeli V, who died on October 16 in Virginia, US, aged 80, will be buried at the Nyanza Palace on Wednesday. The government of Rwanda has offered to support the family with the process. It is however unclear if the king will be accorded a state funeral.

The body was repatriated to Rwanda after a US court ruling that settled a dispute between the king’s relatives on his final resting place.

While one side insisted he be buried in Rwanda, the other wanted the king laid to rest in the US where he had lived for more than two decades.

Prior to moving to the US, King Kigeli first fled to Uganda, moved to Tanzania where he lived for a decade before returning to Kampala. He lived in Kenya from 1979 and left for the US in June 1992.

The Nyanza Palace, which will be his final resting place, is where he ascended to the throne in 1959 before his short-lived reign ended in 1961 when he was forced to flee. The palace has since become a tourist attraction site.