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UK Police reveal Rwanda Government’s plot to murder dissidents on British soil

Alarming news about ongoing Rwandan Government’s terrorist activities in the UK. Here a report published by The Independent this Friday 20th May:

Rwandan assassin ‘sent to kill dissidents in UK’

Met warns that Kagame regime may be plotting to kill two men

By Cahal Milmo

Rene Mugenzi, at home in south London: afraid for his life

Rene Mugenzi, at home in south London: afraid for his life - Photo: Susannah Ireland

The Rwandan government is masterminding an alleged assassination plot in Britain against dissidents critical of the east African country’s increasingly authoritarian regime, The Independent can reveal.

In a move which threatens to tip relations between London and one of its closest African allies into crisis, detectives from Scotland Yard last week visited two prominent Rwandans living in Britain, one of them a founder of a new opposition party, and warned them of “reliable intelligence” that the country’s government “poses an imminent threat to your life”.

The two men yesterday told of their shock and fear after being told to improve security at their homes, change their daily routines and that the “threat could come in any form”. Whitehall sources said last night that the movements of two Rwandans with diplomatic accreditation in Britain, who have travelled regularly between London and Kigali in the last nine months, are being closely monitored.

The Independent also understands that police are investigating claims that an individual implicated in the attempted murder in South Africa last year of a key opposition figure to the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, may have travelled to the UK.

Rene Mugenzi, 35, a survivor of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide who is a British citizen and now runs a London-based social exclusion think-tank, said: “I am bewildered that such a thing could be happening to me. I am not a political figure in Rwanda, I left when I was 17. How can it be that in Britain, a foreign government can be allowed to threaten the life of a person? Every time I go outside, I am looking over my shoulder, wondering if there is an assassin around the corner.”

The disclosure of the murder plot comes after an investigation by The Independent revealed last month that MI5 has warned the Rwandan High Commissioner to London to halt an alleged campaign of harassment against critics of Mr Kagame living in the UK.

But the Rwandan government’s activities against dissidents have increased dramatically recently. Last week police served a “Threats to life warning notice” on Mr Mugenzi and a second Rwandan, Jonathan Musonera, laying out the danger facing them.

Mr Musonera, a former member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) army led by Mr Kagame which halted the genocide, is one of the founding members of the Rwanda National Conference (RNC), a new political party led by exiled military officers which poses a threat to the president.

In the aftermath of the genocide, which left around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and many moderate members of the Hutu majority dead, the regime led by Mr Kagame was hailed for its rebuilding of the country. Britain last year welcomed Rwanda into the Commonwealth and became its largest aid donor to the tune of �83m a year.

But President Kagame is now charged with becoming increasingly authoritarian, intolerant of dissent and of silencing political opposition.

Evidence that schisms among Mr Kagame’s former comrades are leading to reprisals was strengthened last summer when a former head of Rwandan intelligence, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who is also a founder of the RNC, was the subject of an assassination attempt in South Africa. Several of the suspected gunmen were Rwandan, including one individual who Rwandan opposition figures claim has travelled to London.

Mr Musonera, 46, who along with father-of-three Mr Mugenzi has been told that police cannot offer round-the-clock protection, said: “I am terribly scared. We know what the Rwandan government can do. Their killers are not bothered about observing the laws of the countries in which they carry out their activities.”

Sat in his home in south east London, Mr Mugenzi recalled how he had personally challenged Mr Kagame over claims of despotism in a BBC World Service phone-in this year. “I have no idea if my encounter with Mr Kagame is linked to the threat I now face,” he said. “But this is not how a civilised government should behave. No-one is challenging the terribleness of the genocide but if Rwanda becomes a country that cannot tolerate a variety of voices then how can it move on?”

The Foreign Office said the threat faced by Rwandans in Britain had been raised with the Kigali government. The Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK, Ernest Rwamucyo, said in a statement: “The government of Rwanda does not threaten the lives of its citizens wherever they live.”

[The Independent]

1 comment

1 Bob { 06.09.11 at 10:57 pm }

Rwanda and prejudices towards Africa

Without placing allegations of human rights abuses in context, it is easy to call Obama or Cameron delusional despots.

Last week, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, while on twitter, got into a heated exchange with a British journalist, one Ian Birrell. The journalist was accusing him of human rights violations, insisting the Rwandan president should account to him (as who?)for these abuses. Then Birrell shifted from accusations to insults and called Kagame a �delusional despot.� Meanwhile, the Rwandan president remained calm and continued to explain to Birrell that he does not know much about Rwanda and has therefore no right to judge him.

Over the years, human rights activists, end-poverty evangelists, politicians, rock stars, journalists and diplomats from the western world have become extremely vocal in affairs that concern the people of Africa. They carry a near-cultural arrogance that makes them feel qualified to judge and dictate affairs on the continent. One wonders why this British journalist (like many of his ilk) feels he cares about the human rights of the people of Rwanda than its elected president and government. Why does he think he is more humane (or human) than Kagame?

Later in the week the police in London warned two Rwandan exiles � Rene Mugyenzi and Jonathan Musonera � that Kigali had sent a hit squad to kill them. The British media hyped it equating it to Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian ex-spy who was allegedly killed in London by Russian intelligence in 2007.

I do not put it past the Rwandan government to try to kill those it considers dangerous to its security. All governments, democratic or otherwise do. Bin Laden has just met his fate as many enemies of America including presidents of sovereign nations have. This is not to say such actions are morally right. Rather, it shows that states kill to promote their interests; if Kagame tried it, it would not be an aberration by a �delusional despot�.

My interest however is how western media cover these issues when it comes to Africa � and how Africans parrot it. Many western journalists begin from the assumption that African leaders are barbaric tyrants. Therefore, any negative story they hear about an African leader only confirms this prejudice. So they make little or no effort to crosscheck and confirm the authenticity of the accusations. Cognitive scientists call this �confirmation bias�; even ridiculous allegations are taken as ipso facto true.

For example, I believe there have been many instances when the government of Rwanda under Kagame has committed human rights abuses. This was true most especially immediately after the genocide. I do not share RPF�s self-image as a holy organisation. I take it that the state was still fragile. However, the intensity of such abuses has greatly diminished as the regime has consolidated.

Anyone with the most basic knowledge of post conflict political consolidation would not be surprised by this. RPF inherited a collapsed state, its own military and administrative structures were in infancy. Therefore, human rights abuses were inevitable results of state weakness, not blood-thirsty leadership. What is surprising is not that these abuses took place at all but rather the effectiveness and speed with which RPF has been able to consolidate power and establish a stable political order.

Just compare poverty-stricken Rwanda to Great Britain and the United States � nations that have existed for centuries and have developed enormous and rich intellectual, financial, technological and institutional resources and capabilities. When Al Qaeda, an external enemy, killed 3,000 people on 9/11, they began to detain suspects without trial, torture them and invade other countries. There, their armies have committed atrocities against ordinary civilians. Does this make President Barak Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, �delusional despots�?

Post genocide Rwanda confronted mass murderers who had killed one million people. The killers were not foreigners from distant lands. They were resident citizens. Although the genocide had been planned by the state, it was executed by society � so RPF inherited a criminal population. A young and fragile army had to pacify a country where the enemy lurked everywhere. How anyone would expect zero human rights abuses in such context is beyond me.

Morally, Kagame shines far above George Bush and Tony Blair or Cameron and Obama. The leaders of these democracies have proceeded to jail, torture and kill suspected Al Qaeda sympathisers without any due process � including small people like taxi drivers, idlers and hawkers. In Rwanda, Kagame has promoted restorative justice where only the ringleaders of genocide were prosecuted while the masses who implemented it have been forgiven and re-integrated in society.

The scale of the challenge RPF faced was such that hardly anyone would have predicted success. One would have expected a counter genocide. There were only isolated human rights abuses. Within 17 years, RPF has been able to reconstruct the state and economy and institutionalise power so rapidly that human rights abuses are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. The speed and effectiveness of this achievement is a feat without precedent in human history.

Today, poor Rwanda has 98% of its people on medical insurance, 100% of its mothers give birth with the assistance of a medical professional, 97% of its pregnant mothers receive antenatal care, 100% of its malnourished kids get milk and cereal from government clinics daily etc. Kagame has been the driver of this, a factor that demonstrates his commitment to humanity, not a cruel, human rights-abusing delusional despot that Birrell presents. This journalist may wish to join a human rights campaign for Osama Bin Laden who has been killed �without trial by Obama.�

The issue of hired Rwandan hit-men is a joke except that the allegation is made by the British police. The influence of Western prejudices has penetrated our (African) social consciousness. So we also easily believe that we are as barbaric as western media and scholar have constructed us. We are more inclined to believe that when the British police say something, it is true. We forget that the British police are as prejudiced as its journalists.

This prejudice led western intelligence to believe wild stories by Iraqi exiles that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction even without pausing to question the credibility of their sources. I find it hard to believe that the government of Rwanda is so reckless as to jeopardise its relations with UK by attempting to kill Musonera and Mugyenzi � the two are too insignificant in the wider challenges Rwanda government faces to risk everything to kill them. These accusations are therefore bought because of deeply entrenched western prejudices about Africa.

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