Paul Kagame accused of ordering Patrick Karegeya's assassination

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am


The man who was last seen with the Rwandan ex-spymaster killed in a South African hotel was a Rwandan businessman who befriended the victim in jail and whom he trusted "absolutely," said a former Rwandan general who has survived two assassination attempts.

Police say former colonel Patrick Karegeya's body, apparently strangled, was found on Wednesday in Michelangelo Towers hotel in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton, along with a bloodied towel and rope.

Former Rwandan army chief-of-staff lieutenant general Kayumba Nyamwasa accuses Rwandan President Paul Kagame of ordering Karegeya's assassination and two 2010 attempts on his own life in Johannesburg. Officials in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, have made no comment since Karegeya's death but have previously vehemently denied charges they target opponents of the government.

Nyamwasa said Karegeya, 53, was last seen at the hotel with Apollo Ismael Kiririsi.

Nyamwasa said he had twice met Karegeya with Kiririsi: "I think [Karegeya] trusted him absolutely but they were together in the [hotel] room and now one is killed the other has not been able to give any account of himself."

Karegeya's nephew, David Batenga, had been the last family member to see the former spy chief. Batenga and Karegeya picked up Kiririsi from the train station last Sunday.

The three men spent several hours together and dined on Tuesday before Batenga left the two men at the hotel, Nyamwasa said.

The discovery of the body a day later means any killer may already have left the country.

Police have not announced any arrests but said they are searching for a Rwandan man and are pursuing several leads.

Theogene Rudasingwa, another Rwandan dissident, said that Karegeya's body was found in a room rented by a man called "Apollo." Police said Karegeya had checked into the hotel.

Karegeya, Nyamwasa and Rudasingwa were once allies of Kagame, and are now critics. Karegeya headed the feared external intelligence agency from 1994, when Kagame's rebel movement took power and ended the Rwandan genocide, until 2004.

Several Kagame opponents were killed in that time. The most recent killing that critics blamed on Kagame is the October 2012 death of Theogene Turatsinze, the former managing director of the Rwandan Development Bank.