South African police have reported another attempt on the life of a former Rwandan army chief of staff who has been living in exile in the country for the past four years.
Capt. Paul Ramaloko, a spokesman for the South African police, said Wednesday that Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was not injured in the attack on his Johannesburg home on Tuesday because no one was home at the time, Al-Jazeera reported.
The Rwanda National Congress, a Rwandan opposition group, condemned the attack, citing a current trial in South Africa of gunmen who attempted to kill the general in 2010, when he was shot in the stomach. Tuesday’s attack was the third on Nyamwasa’s life since he fled Rwanda for Johannesburg, when he fell out of favor with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The former army chief of staff has said he believed that the previous assassination attempts were retribution for his claims that Kagame had ordered a former president’s airplane shot down, an act that sparked the 1994 Rwandan genocide that led to the deaths of roughly 800,000 Rwandans in about 100 days, the U.N. documented.
A person reportedly close to Nyamwasa’s family reported to Agence France-Presse that the gunmen “overpowered” South African police officers guarding Nyamwasa’s house in the Johannesburg suburb of Bruma, according to Al-Jazeera.
“They searched almost every room,” the source reportedly said, according to Al-Jazeera. “It can’t be an armed robbery. You don’t ask where ‘are the people?’”
Patrick Karegeya, a former Rwandan intelligence chief who was also exiled in South Africa, was found strangled to death in a Johannesburg luxury hotel on New Year’s Day, The Guardian reported.
Following Karegeya’s death, Kagame denied ordering the assassination but had some chilling words for the press.
“Rwanda did not kill this person — and it’s a big no,” Kagame told The Wall Street Journal. “But I add that, I actually wish Rwanda did it. I really wish it.”
Kagame has been critical of the opposition, namely the RNC, which Karegeya and Nyamwasa formed when they went into exile.
“They have made statements that threaten Rwanda as a state and even the people of Rwanda,” according to the Journal. “But still it’s not about statements. They’ve done things that have led to deaths of Rwandans.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Karegeya fled to South Africa in 2007 after he had been “jailed for insubordination and desertion, stripped of his rank as colonel and accused of plotting a coup with Nyamwasa.”
Following Karegeya’s death, the RNC said in a statement on its website that his “death has made us more determined than ever before, to carry the torch of struggling for freedom, for which he died.”