Rwanda government: No sympathy for ex-spy chief killed in SA

2014-01-07 08:38

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rwanda’s foreign minister says her government has no sympathy for a slain former spy chief who had a falling out with the country’s president and who was killed in South Africa, while Rwanda’s prime minister warned yesterday that betraying one’s country brings consequences.

Members of the Rwandan opposition have accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of being behind the killing of Patrick Karegeya.

Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi tweeted yesterday: “Betraying citizens and their country that made you a man shall always bear consequences to you.”

When asked by The Associated Press if the tweet referred to Karegeya, the prime minister said “Not necessarily, this should be one of the values of #Rwanda leaders,” in response.

But in separate Twitter messages, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said Karegeya was a “self-declared” enemy of their African nation. Referring to Karegeya’s death, she tweeted: “You expect pity?”

The Rwandan government denies it targets dissidents for assassination, though the death of Karegeya - whose body was found, apparently strangled, on New Year’s Day in Johannesburg – fits a pattern of attacks on Rwandan dissidents.

Kagame has long been accused of extra-territorial killings, including ones committed when Karegeya was the feared boss of Rwanda’s external security agency.

Among the attacks, gunmen twice tried to kill Kagame’s former chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, while he was living in exile in Johannesburg in 2010. Nyamwasa told The Associated Press in 2012 that Kagame has hunted him and other dissidents around the world “using hired killer squads.”

Responding to Mushikiwabo’s tweets, Karegeya’s eldest son Elvis asked her on Twitter: “So it’s your government’s view that any ‘enemy’ of the state deserves to be strangled to death?” Mushikiwabo responded: “It’s my Gov position: 1. what happens to its enemies shd not make it lose sleep & 2. investigation shd proceed”.

She repeated accusations that the slain dissident colonel and his colleagues had been behind grenade attacks in Rwanda in recent years.

Karegeya’s family, meanwhile, said the Ugandan government has rejected a request for him to be buried in Uganda, the country of his birth and where his mother and siblings still live.

James Mugume, the permanent secretary at Uganda’s Foreign Ministry, said yesterday Karegeya cannot be buried in Uganda because of “sovereignty” issues.

“He was a citizen of Rwanda and was resident in South Africa. We don’t want to interfere in other countries’ matters,” Mugume said.

In an interview with AP yesterday, Karegeya’s nephew, David Batenga, said he believes the last person seen with Karegeya used a fake passport to enter South Africa. Batenga said yesterday the man, Rwandan businessman Apollo Kiririsi Gafaranga, had seemed to be a friend of the former Rwandan external intelligence chief.

“We haven’t been able to find any record of him entering the country. So he must have used a fake passport,” Batenga said.

Three days earlier, Batenga and his uncle had picked Gafaranga up at a light-rail station and driven him to the plush Michelangelo Towers hotel where he had asked to be booked in.

According to family members and friends, Gafaranga had spent years earning Karegeya’s trust and had travelled to South Africa at least four times, always apparently on fake documents and staying at Karegeya’s home.

But this time he had asked to be booked into a hotel, citing growing fears of the Rwandan regime and the security risk to his friend.

Karegeya was found dead in the hotel room after failing to respond to phone calls and text messages from his nephew. Gafaranga was gone, taking only his cellphone and wallet with him and leaving his suitcase behind in the room, Batenga said.

Batenga believes more than one person was involved in the killing, saying it would likely take a several men to overpower his uncle and there weren’t any signs of a massive struggle in the hotel room.

South African police have said they are following several leads, but have provided no details.

Gafaranga’s name was on a list of seven people claimed in a blog run by Rwandan dissidents to belong to a hit squad sent to South Africa to eliminate Karegeya.

The blog said its information came from informers. Some of the hit men, it charged, had entered South Africa via Mozambique.

Karegeya had been living in exile in South Africa for more than five years after a falling out with Kagame.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.