Rwandan judicial authorities on Friday sentenced 13 people to five years and two others to ten years in jail after convicting them of belonging to extremist groups including al Shabaab and Islamic State and providing them support.
The high court in Rwanda’s southern Nyanza area acquitted 25 others after the prosecution failed to prove their involvement in extremist acts.
Police in the central African country arrested the 40 in January 2016, less than a week after they killed Muhammad Mugemangango, a preacher accused of encouraging youths to join extremist groups.
Security personnel also seized jihadist materials such as books, CDs and social network messages.
One of those convicted, Salim Fundi, participated in “coordinating people in Rwanda who wanted to join the terrorist group of al Shabaab in Somalia,” said Judge Eugene Ndagijimana while delivering the ruling.
Those convicted included three women, two of them arrested at the airport in Kigali while en route to Syria and another convicted of helping them with $1,000 for flight tickets.
Most Rwandans are Christians, Muslims account for about 2.5 per cent of the population.