Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Roommate describes plot to kill Rwandan exile in SA

Days before an exiled Rwandan army general was shot and wounded in South Africa, two of the men charged in the shooting were plotting another attempt on his life, a witness testified on Wednesday.

The Rwandan witness, a former roommate of one of suspects, was testifying in the trial of three Rwandans and three Tanzanians accused of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges in the June 2010 shooting of Lieutenant General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Rwandan authorities deny allegations of involvement that have been made by Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s opponents.

South African prosecutors won’t say whether they believe Kagame’s government was behind plots against Nyamwasa, who was once Rwanda’s military chief and has been in exile in South Africa since 2010.

Last year, Nyamwasa was among four men, all former top Kagame aides now in exile in South Africa and the United States, convicted in absentia by a Rwandan military court of disturbing public order, threatening state security, sectarianism and criminal conspiracy.

The four have accused Kagame of crushing dissent and democracy after helping to end the 1994 genocide that left more than 500 000 people dead in Rwanda.

Police protection
South African prosecutors have said key witnesses are under police protection in South Africa because they fear Rwanda’s government.

The possibility Kagame’s government has pursued his opponents abroad has been raised elsewhere.

In Sweden earlier this month, a person close to the Swedish government said a Rwandan diplomat had been expelled because he had engaged in “refugee espionage”.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a sensitive diplomatic matter. Sweden is home to a small community of Rwandans, some of whom run blogs and online newspapers that are critical of Kagame.

Last year, police in Britain warned some Rwandans living there that their lives were in danger after the men criticised the government of the east African nation.

Hospital assassination plot
Testimony in the trial has hinted that shadowy figures were determined to kill Nyamwasa, trying more than once and offering large amounts of cash to draw in conspirators.

After Nyamwasa survived the shooting, prosecutors say the people pursuing him plotted to kill him in his South African hospital bed. But that case, which had been tried separately, was dropped earlier this month after a key witness changed his story and accused police of forcing him to make earlier statements.

Wednesday, Adriani Kamali testified in the shooting trial that he came to South Africa from Rwanda in 2002, when he met one of the suspects in Nyamwasa’s shooting, Amani Uriwani, another Rwandan. The two were roommates at the time of the shooting.

Kamali said that about two weeks before the shooting, Uriwani and another suspect, Hassan Mohamedi Nduli, introduced him to another Rwandan identified only as Vincent. Kamali said Vincent at first said he was recruiting a gang to break into the Johannesburg home of a man he said had taken money from his brother. Vincent at first said he only wanted the money back, but several days later said he wanted someone to attack the man.

Further involvement
“They wanted him dead,” Kamali said. Kamali said he backed out when he realised he was being asked to commit murder, but by then was deeply enough involved to have been paid several thousand rand, shown the intended victim’s house and given a key to one of its security gates.

Vincent persisted, offering as much as R100 000 rand, Kamali said. Kamali continued to refuse.

Kamali said he only realised the identity of the intended victim and that a new plot had been hatched without him when he saw news reports about Nyamwasa’s shooting. Kamali said he recognised the general’s home when he saw it on television.

Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams refused to say whether investigators knew more about Vincent’s identity. Abrahams said Vincent was no longer in South Africa, but would not say where he was believed to be. — Sapa-AP

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

Serame Taukobong appointed as Telkom’s chief executive designate

The telecommunication group’s current chief executive, Sipho Maseko, will step down at the end of June 2022

Zambia should commit to tackling toxic lead mine’s legacy

Residents of Kabwe have been poisoned for decades and now UN experts have called for an urgent clean-up

Government proclaims 27 October for local elections, but supports...

The IEC has accepted former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke’s recommendation to postpone the vote to February, but still needs Constitutional Court approval to do so

ANC Free State endorses three names for Mangaung mayor

The three candidates the province has put forward are said to be Ramaphosa supporters, who will further alienate Magashule from his power base
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×