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Rwanda denies involvement in Patrick Karegeya’s assassination

PEOPLE PLAYING POLITICS WITH KAREGEYA DEATH SAYS RWANDAN AMBASSADOR

Patrick Karegeya

Patrick Karegeya

In the wake of the death of 53 year old Patrick Karegeya (PK) the exiled former spy chief of Rwanda, the country’s High Commissioner to South Africa has reacted to allegations that this was a hit organised by the Rwandan government.

“I heard the sad news that PK passed on yesterday afternoon. It is sad that he can be killed, we don’t know who did it. It is just bad news,” said Ambassador Vincent Karega in an interview with local TV station ENCA.

Karegeya was found dead on New Years Day at the Michelangelo Towers, an upmarket hotel in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton in South Africa. Reports indicate he had gone to attend a meeting at the hotel when he was ‘murdered’. The circumstances leading to his death remain unknown. The South African police are conducting investigations although the Rwandan opposition party, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) said in a statement to AFP that “He was strangled by agents of (Rwandan President Paul) Kagame”.

Amb. Vincent Karega

Amb. Vincent Karega

In an interview with The African Professional (Expatriate) last year, Ambassador Karega indicated that SA has granted political asylum to a number of Rwandans living in South Africa. He stated that the death of any dissident is unfairly blamed on the government.
“That is an emotional reaction and opportunistic way of playing politics. South Africa is an organised country with police and the hotel is in a posh area with security features. PK has been living here for a number of years so you have to wonder why he would be killed now and why in a hotel when he has a home. It is unfortunate that any problem is put on government. There are a number of Rwandans living here who do not belong to any political organisation. Some have been killed by robbers or accidents and it is accepted as normal. But if a so called dissident is killed, then they play it politically,” Karega told ENCA.
Twitter: @vincentkarega

Source: africanpro.co.za

January 4, 2014   No Comments

Darling of the West, terror to his opponents: Meet Rwanda’s new scourge – Paul Kagame

by IAN BIRRELL.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame’s rivals keep dying, but Clinton and Blair still shake his hand, writes Ian Birrell

Friday 03 January 2014

Patrick Karegeya knew Paul Kagame well. The pair went to school together, worked alongside each other in Ugandan intelligence and then fought to free their country from the genocidal gangsters who unleashed horror in their native Rwanda. When Kagame became president, Karegeya was put in charge of foreign intelligence services.

But after a decade, their disagreements, including over human rights and attacks on neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, became too strong. He was relieved of his duties, stripped of his rank as colonel and jailed. Once free he fled, later joining forces with three other prominent exiles to lead opposition to Kagame’s government.

Knowing the Rwandan president so well, Karegeya was under no illusions what might happen to him, especially after his friend Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was shot in the stomach in South Africa in 2010. “The Rwandan government can no longer tolerate any dissent,” he said last year. “There is a deliberate plan to finish us off.”

Now the plain-speaking Karegeya is dead, his brutalised body discovered in the room of a luxury South African hotel. A murder investigation has been launched. It seems he was strangled, a rope from the hotel curtains found with a bloodied towel in the safe.

Patrick Karegeya

Patrick Karegeya was found dead in a luxury South African hotel

Rwandan officials deny any complicity. They always do, of course. It is part of the regime’s tactics, their smart diplomats throwing up smokescreens while smearing enemies and exploiting global sympathy for the genocide.

But Nyamwasa, a former Rwandan army chief who has survived two assassination attempts, asked who else might want to kill his friend. “It is not the first time and it is not the last. Most of President Kagame’s political opposition are in exile or in prison or are dead.”

It may take time for the full facts to filter out. Initial reports say police want to interview a Rwandan man who met Karegeya at a rail station then went with him to the hotel in the upmarket suburb of Sandton.

Yet one thing is certain beyond the death of an important dissident. Enemies of Kagame – the despot so beloved by Western democratic leaders and charity dupes – seem to have a strange habit of dying in disturbing circumstances.

Over the years a succession of prominent critics and campaigners, judges and journalists, have been killed. They have been beaten, beheaded, shot and stabbed, both at home in Rwanda and abroad in nervous exile. Some were good people, others far from saints – and their deaths came after crossing Kagame.

“We don’t know the details of how and why Karegeya was murdered but there is a  long established pattern of assassination and attempted assassination of Rwandan  government critics,” said  Carina Tertsakian, senior researcher on Rwanda at Human Rights Watch.

Kagame’s strategy has been clear from the start of his rise to power; indeed, defectors and dissidents have explained in detail how the man gets rid of his rivals. “He believes that all opponents must die,” said Karegeya last year.

Those who served as his aides, army officers and bodyguards have said that even in exile during the days of bush warfare, he eliminated those who threatened his authority. After taking power following the 1994 genocide, his repressive regime used murder, arbitrary arrest, jail and strict media controls to sustain its incredibly rigid rule.

Former colleagues told me he never hid what would happen to enemies; even Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who became a global hero amid the hell of genocide, had to go into hiding.

All too typical was the story of Seth Sendashonga, the respected Minister of the Interior in the post-genocide government. After protesting human rights abuses in a series of memoranda sent to Kagame, he was dismissed and went into exile in Kenya, where he became increasingly vocal against the government.

After surviving a first assassination ambush in February 1996, in which an arrested man with a firearm turned out to be an employee at the Rwandan embassy, he was shot dead in Nairobi two years later. The case bears similarities to the recent attacks in South Africa.

This killing of critics has happened with relentless regularity. There was a particularly nasty spate before the 2010 election, when not only was Nyamwasa targeted but a newspaper editor murdered, a rival politician found near-beheaded and even a Tanzanian law professor involved in a genocide case shot dead.

The following year Scotland Yard warned two exiles in Britain that a Rwandan hit squad had been sent to kill them, although they were not high-profile. Scandalously, even this did not stop the flow of British aid and adulation.

One of the targets was Rene Mugenzi, a father of three and Liberal Democrat activist. He had to cut off contact with many fellow Rwandan exiles in Britain for fear they might be government agents and still lives under a high state of security alert.

“This latest case is very troubling for me and my family,” he told me. “You just feel anything can happen, especially when nothing is done at the international level against Kagame. It is like he has a licence to kill.”

And this is the key point. For despite the murders, the abuse of human rights, the locking up of political rivals, the ceaseless and now well-documented stoking of carnage and conflict in the Congo, Kagame remains a leader lionised in Washington and Westminster.

The world’s foremost scholar on Rwanda has described him as “probably the worst war criminal in office today.” Another leading academic concluded he was running “a very well-managed ethnic, social and economic dictatorship”.

But Bill Clinton calls him “one of the greatest leaders of our time” while Tony Blair, who works closely with him and has borrowed his plush private jet, hails him as “a visionary leader”. There is similar adoration on the right among many Tories and Republicans; Rwanda was even welcomed into the Commonwealth four years ago.

This disgusting hypocrisy, fuelled by the desperate search for an aid success story, is underlined by Kagame’s intelligence chief meeting ministers in London despite being indicted by a Spanish judge, while Theogene Rudasingwa, a leading Kagame opponent based in the United States, is refused a visa.

Rudasingwa, Kagame’s former chief of staff and one of his key opponents alongside Karegeya, is dismayed by Western reluctance to acknowledge Kagame’s criminality despite a welter of evidence.

So was he scared following the latest apparent murder, I asked him on Friday? “No,” he replied. “This just makes me more determined. I know he is on a mission to kill all of us but we are going to fight him to the finishing line.”

These are brave words, given what has happened to so many of those who challenged Kagame. Yet Britain, to our lasting shame, continues to back the monstrous killer in Kigali.

Source: independent.co.uk

January 4, 2014   No Comments

Rwanda: RNC recounts Colonel Patrick Karegeya’s assassination in Johannesburg

RNC About Colonel Patrick Karegeya’s Assassination
Johannesburg 03 January 2014.
The Rwanda National Congress, a political movement against the dictatorship in Rwanda, is deeply saddened to announce the assassination of Col Patrick Karegeya on 31 December 2013 at the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The South African police is investigating the circumstances surrounding his killing. Meanwhile it has emerged that Col Patrick Karegeya last communicated with his nephew, Mr David Batenga for the last time at around 19:46 on the same night. Col Patrick Karegeya was still in the company of Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga, a businessman from Rwanda who it was claimed was in South Africa for business meetings.

Col Patrick Karegeya knew Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga from the time he was still head of external intelligence in President Paul Kagame’s government. Even when Col Patrick Karegeya’s misfortunes began and was jailed and ultimately had to flee the country, he kept the relationship with Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga and hosted him in his house on the latter’s previous visits to South Africa. However on his recent visit, Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga informed Col Patrick Karegeya that he would have busy meetings and that it would be improper to hold those meetings at Col Patrick Karegeya’s house. He asked Col Patrick Karegeya to book him a hotel in an easily accessible area, which Col Patrick Karegeya did, as he had done with many other guests. He chose the Michelangelo Towers for him.

Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga and Col Patrick Karegeya intermittently met on 29 and 30 December 2013. They were again together on 31 December 2013 and Col Patrick Karegeya last communicated with his nephew, Mr David Batenga around 19:46 confirming that he was indeed with Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga and all was well. As the year was ending that night and people exchanged New Year wishes, Col Patrick Karegeya’s family calling from overseas was surprised that he was not answering his phone. Although Mr David Batenga called and got no response he told the family not to worry as he knew where and who he was with.

The morning of 01 January 2014, Mr David Batenga who regularly communicates with his uncle, was surprised that Col Patrick Karegeya had not left any message. He suspected that something may have gone wrong and decided to go and see his uncle at his house since all his phones were off and the landline rang without an answer. He could not get in the house and did not see his uncle’s car. He therefore went to the Sandton hotel to inquire as he knew it is where he could probably be with his guest Mr Appollo Kiririsi Gafaranga. But due to hotel protocol Mr David Batenga was not allowed to access the room but he insisted that the hotel calls the police. He remained at the hotel until the police arrived. The hotel receptionist informed him that the guest was dead. Mr David Batenga was later allowed to get in the room around 19H30 to 20H00 and recognised the body as that of his uncle, Col Patrick Karegeya.
Col Patrick Karegeya was a founding member of the Rwanda National Congress and a key figure in the Rwandan opposition to President Paul Kagame. Rwandan opposition key figures have been a target in South Africa and the rest of the world. Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, another founding member of the Rwanda National Congress survived two assassination attempts in Johannesburg in June 2010. Investigations have found overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Rwanda intelligence operatives in those assassination attempts.

Col Patrick Karegeya was a courageous soldier who died on the battlefield. His vision for an inclusive and free Rwandan society earned him the admiration and respect of most Rwandan political actors, both in the predominantly Tutsi ruling party and in the predominantly Hutu opposition political parties. It is this leadership that played a crucial role in the formation of the Rwanda National Congress, a political movement that brings together both Hutu and Tutsi political activists and has strategic alliances with other key opposition political groups, such as the FDU Inkingi and the Amahoro People’s Congress.

By killing its opponents, the criminal regime in Kigali seeks to intimidate and silence the Rwandan people into submission.
Examples of those assassinated abound:
– Mr John Sengati (murdered in Rwanda),
– Col Theoneste Lizinde and Mr Seth Sendashonga (killed in Nairobi, Kenya),
– Col Shabani Rutayisire and
– Mr Gratien Munyarubuga,
– Dr Assiel Kabera,
– Mr Andre Kagwa Rwisereka and many others (killed in Rwanda),
– Ms Regina Uwamaliya and Mr Juvenal Uwilingiyimana (murdered in Brussels, Belgium),
– journalist Charles Ingabire (assassinated in Kampala, Uganda)
– and Mr Pasteur Musabe (killed in Cameroon),
…. the list is endless.
Rwandans however are not deterred in their quest for freedom, rule of law and democracy. Such criminal activities make Rwandan people even more determined to struggle to remove Kagame’s dictatorship.

The security of exiled Rwandans will remains a concern as long as Kagame’s quest for the annihilation of dissenting voices, to the extent of hunting them down, is not properly dealt with by the countries hosting Rwandan refugees.

Rwanda National Congress petitions the South African government to double efforts to protect Rwandan refugees on its soil, particularly to mitigate the threat posed by Rwandan government’s operatives within the republic.
Details of Col Patrick Karegeya’s memorial services as well as funeral arrangements will be communicated soon.

For further details:
Dr Theogene Rudasingwa, Coordinator, Rwanda National Congress
Email: ngombwa@gmail.com
Mr David Batenga, Family member
Tel: 0794544651, Email: muriisab@gmail.com
Mr Frank Ntwali, Chairman, Rwanda National Congress South Africa
Tel: 0767778735, Email: ntwali4justice@gmail.com

January 4, 2014   No Comments