Bloodied towel found in former Rwandan spy chief's room

Sapa, AFP

Former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya's body has been found in a Sandton hotel room, along with a bloodied towel and rope.

Patrick Karegeya's body was found at the hotel on Maude Street, with his neck swollen, Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said. (M&G)

A former Rwandan spy chief has been found murdered in his Sandton, Johannesburg, hotel room, Gauteng police said on Thursday.

Patrick Karegeya's body was found on Wednesday around 5.30pm at the hotel on Maude Street, with his neck swollen, Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said. 

A bloodied towel and rope were found in the hotel room safe.

"There is a possibility that he might have been strangled," she said.

Karegeya (53) booked into the hotel on Sunday.

"A case of murder has been opened by the Sandton police and investigations are under way," said Mogale.

'Agents of Kagame'
Earlier on Thursday, Rwanda National Congress (RNC) said: "The Rwandan opposition is deeply saddened to announce the assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg."

"It is true," Frank Ntwali, the party's chairperson for Africa said early on Thursday. "He was strangled by agents of [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame," Ntwali said.

Karegeya was for a long time very close to Kagame. He served as head of external intelligence for around a decade before being demoted to army spokesperson and was later arrested and jailed.

He was stripped of his rank of colonel in 2006 and fled into exile the following year.

Another prominent Rwandan dissident in South Africa, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, survived two assassination attempts in June 2010.

The RNC statement said investigations had found "overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Rwandan intelligence operatives in those attempts".

Rwanda has vehemently denied involvement in the attacks. Karegeya and Nyamwasa are both prominent figures in the opposition party, despite not holding specific posts.

Karegeya leaves behind his wife Leah and three children. – Sapa, AFP

*​An earlier version of this article was updated. The image of the Michelangelo Hotel was removed.

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