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South Africa orders arrest of two Rwandans over Karegeya’s murder

Patrick Karegeya was head of intelligence in Rwanda. He was a member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front group that took power in Rwanda following the genocide and civil war. After becoming a critic of RPF leader Paul Kagame, he was stripped of his rank and jailed. (PHOTO/File)

CAPE TOWN – The South Africa National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has issued warrants of arrest for two Rwandan nationals accused of murdering Rwanda’s former head of intelligence, Col Patrick Karegeya, six years ago.

Karegeya, who had sought refuge in South Africa, was found strangled in a Sandton hotel room on December 31 2013.

According to a statement issued on Monday, September 9, 2019, by a family lawyer, NPA is also in the process of applying for the extradition of the suspects. The NPA will apply to Interpol for the issuing of “Red Notices” for the suspects.

“South African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for two of the four alleged murderers of an exiled Rwandan ex-spy and critic of President Paul Kagame who was killed in a Johannesburg hotel in 2014,” advocate Gerrie Nel said in a statement.

“South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority is also applying for the extradition of two other suspects of Rwandan descent,” he added.

“We welcome the current steps and hope the NPA will continue with the process keenly. AfriForum’s private prosecution unit and the family of the deceased will closely monitor the process,” AfriForum said.

Karegeya was the head of external intelligence in Rwanda for around a decade before being demoted to army spokesperson. He was later arrested and jailed. He was stripped of the rank of colonel in 2006 and went into exile in 2007.

Once in South Africa, Karegeya became a fierce critic of Kagame. He branded the Rwandan leader a dictator and alleged having first-hand knowledge of the state killing of dissidents abroad. He would help to set up an opposition movement, the Rwandan National Congress from South Africa.

The Rwandan government has denied any involvement or wrongdoing but Kagame’s comments at the time suggested he may have been involved.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) many other former supporters of Paul Kagame have been the targets of attacks and threats in recent years.

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