Murdered Rwandan spy chief at hotel for meeting

2014-01-02 13:22

Johannesburg - Rwanda's opposition coalition has accused President Paul Kagame of ordering the assassination of the country's former spy chief, who was found dead in a hotel in Johannesburg.

The opposition coalition Rwandan National Congress said Patrick Karegeya, a former colonel and longtime Kagame ally in war who turned against him in peace, was found strangled in a room at Johannesburg's plush Michelangelo Towers hotel.

South African police have opened a murder investigation.

A police statement said: "He was found in the hotel room dead on the bed. Preliminary investigations revealed that his neck (was) swollen. A towel with blood and a rope were found in the hotel room safe. There is a possibility that he might have been strangled."

It said his body was found on Wednesday, New Year's Day.

Hotel meeting

Congress co-ordinator Theogene Rudasingwa told The Associated Press in a telephone call from Washington that it is unclear if Karegeya was killed on Tuesday or Wednesday. He said Karegeya's death follows a pattern of assassinations ordered by Kagame.

Kagame's government has vehemently denied such charges, though Rwandan exiles say British, US and Belgian law enforcers have frequently warned them that their government is plotting to kill them.

Gunmen twice tried to kill Kagame's former chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, while he was living in exile in Johannesburg in 2010.

Rudasingwa said Karegeya had gone to the Johannesburg hotel to meet a Rwandan man who had posed as a friend of the opposition. He said he only knew his first name, Apollo, and that the room in which Karegeya was found was registered in his name. The police statement said Karegeya had checked into the hotel in his own name.

"By killing its opponents, the criminal regime in Kigali seeks to intimidate and silence the Rwandan people into submission," said an opposition statement signed by Rudasingwa. "The regime is hugely mistaken. Such criminal activities make Rwandan people more emboldened to struggle to remove the dictatorship."

Karegeya and Nyamwasa were among four top former Rwandan army officers who formed an opposition party in exile six years ago. They had fought with Kagame in the Ugandan rebel movement that brought Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986. Museveni then allowed them bases and training to form their own Tutsi rebel movement. Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front came to power in 1994, when it ended the genocide in which some 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The four defectors were sentenced in Rwanda in their absence to long prison terms in 2011 for allegedly promoting tribal divisions and threatening state security with grenade attacks in Kigali, Rwanda's capital.

Rwanda had issued international arrest warrants for the men.


Karegeya, who was 53, according to police, leaves a wife, Leah, who is in Johannesburg, and three children.

Karegeya exercised great power when he served as intelligence chief of Rwanda for 10 years before he was arrested and jailed for 18 months for insubordination and desertion. He fled the country after he was stripped of his rank in 2006.

The defectors, all from Kagame's Tutsi tribe, accuse Rwanda's leader of stifling opposition and killing and jailing critics to stay in power and keep out the Hutus who form the majority in Rwanda.

Kagame's supporters, including the United States and Britain, point to his development achievements. Today, Rwanda has some of the best health, literacy and education rates on the continent, though critics say it has come at the price of dictatorship.

Rudasingwa said international support for Kagame is helping "to put Rwanda on a course for another bloody conflict but the international community appears to not be interested in preventing another bloodbath in Rwanda."

  • Jonathan Woods - 2014-01-02 14:11

    The international community is not interested because it suits the purpose of the Elite to have Africans destroy themselves!

      Punungwe - 2014-01-02 14:50

      "Kagame's supporters, including the United States and Britain, point to his development achievements. Today, Rwanda has some of the best health, literacy and education rates on the continent" According to the CIA world fact book Rwanda has a literacy rate of 70% which is by far not the best on the continent. It's maternal mortality rate is again far from being the best in Africa. So the above statement is totally without qualification and those who support Kagame It is practicing extrajudicial killings of its citizens. The USA killed Awlaki but that was because he supported terrorism. The bottom line is that Kagame is a long term liability to his country and to his allies.

      Punungwe - 2014-01-02 19:13

      Kagame uyadelela South Africa too much. All his assassination attempts are in SA. I think SA should close the Rwandese embassy to send a strong signal that SA is not the place where you kill your unwanted people. First it was Dewani, now Rwanda.

      Scouter Four-One - 2014-01-04 13:32

      Which they do without much help, Jonathan - I'd be interested to know your definition of the 'Elite'. Do you mean the white privileged minority, the black nouveau riche minority or just 'Big Brother'?

  • Maru Sebata - 2014-01-02 14:11

    Paul Kagame does profit a lot but cannot push his luck too far by playing ths games on SA soil, ex intel. agent for external affairs knows lot abt th actual players in the Eastern DRC mess tht frustrate UN 4 60yrs, foreign intelligence agencies @ each others throat, SA private security firms compound th DRC mess through sanction busting sophisticated gun running activities! This man knew all tht, he was a dead man 4 long time!

  • jimzimbo - 2014-01-02 14:19

    Leave them in peace to fight amongst themselves....

  • Maru Sebata - 2014-01-02 14:23

    It is very difficult 4 Rwandan agents 2 penetrate & access home affairs records & details of th victim on databases cellphone service providers, ths is th work of extremely violent organised criminals operating within security industry across th continent & profiteering frm th mess in DRC! Big businesses & politicians r involved here!

  • Teboho D. Maema - 2014-01-02 15:19

    This has Kagame's name written all over one is safe from that guy. C'mon people cut the young 'Tebogo' some slack, He's not racist but STUPID!

  • abraham.karelse - 2014-01-02 15:48

    Is the CIA still busy with covert ops in Africa-just asking.

  • Maru Sebata - 2014-01-02 16:29

    Anatomy of DRC mess! U hv Zim with mining concessions extracting coltan @ & uranium on behalf of Iran & N.Korea 4 nuke processing, u hv Israeli'sMossad,CIA,M15 & other western intel. agencies determined 2 stop th flow of the materials using proxies of security companies- U hv Museveni & Kagame oiling their hands from exploitations & extortions from their military generals! Play ground is E.DRC.

  • Rob Tubbs - 2014-01-02 16:43

    Live by the 'sword' - die by the 'sword'. He shouldn't have been here anyway 'sapping' the South African tax payers money.....

  • Nico de Jongh - 2014-01-02 20:30

    ..'By killing its opponents, the criminal regime'.. Africa seems to be riddled with these 'criminal regimes'.. no wonder nothing seems to work.

  • michele.haiderzada - 2014-01-03 07:23

    If he was murdered, how could he be at a meeting? Poor choice of wording for this headline........

  • Sydney Mpofu - 2014-01-05 13:34

    The problem with African Leaders is that they are just too greedy and will never relinquish power once elected into office hence Africa as a continent will never succeed in terms of development yet we have all the resources at our exposal.Some of these African Leaders have become dead people walking considering the period and their ages that they have been in power. A wise man once said quit while you still dont have enemies,Rwandese Leaders and the entire govt together with all other African Dictators should be dragged before the Court of International Justice and be penalised for their crimes against humanity.

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