Reuters International

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwandan national police said they killed three suspected Islamist militants and arrested three others in the western district of Rusizi on Friday.

A police statement said the three who were killed had turned violent in resisting arrest during a raid that followed a tip-off from the public. Police found the suspects had barricaded themselves inside a house for two weeks.

"Initial findings indicate they were in a radicalisation campaign aimed at recruiting jihadists," the statement said. It did not give further details such as the name of the suspected militant group, where it was based, or whether any attacks might have been planned in the small, central African country.

On Thursday, national police said they had been investigating "individuals suspected of being radicalised and linked to foreign terrorist organisations" since last year. Several had appeared in court but no further details were given.

Another suspected militant was killed late on Wednesday in a raid in the capital Kigali, police said.

Two of those arrested in Rusizi were in police custody and a third was was hospitalised for injuries sustained in the raid.

In January, Rwanda police said they had killed a Muslim imam as he tried to escape custody while under investigation for encouraging young Rwandans to join Islamic State militants, who are active in the Middle East and North Africa.

Subsequently, 23 men and women were arrested on suspicion of links to the preacher. Last week, a high court in Kigali granted police more time to keep them in investigative detention.

About 2.5 percent of Rwanda's 11 million people are Muslim, with the rest mostly Christian.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyamana; writing by Duncan Miriri; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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