Washington ‘Troubled’ By Killings Of Other Rwanda Exiles
The U.S. has condemned the recent assassination of Patrick Karegeya Rwanda’s former spy chief in South Africa and also expressed “deep concern” with President Paul Kagame’s comments that seemed to endorse the murder.
The U.S. additionally was “troubled” by the apparent assassination of other political exiles from Rwanda, says the State Department’s top spokesperson.
Last weekend, while addressing a national prayer breakfast meeting Kagame said: “You cannot betray Rwanda and get away with it. There are consequences for betraying your country.”
“Anyone who betrays our cause or wishes our people ill will fall victim. What remains to be seen is how you fall victim,” Kagame also said, without naming Karegeya or anyone else.
South African Police are investigating the murder of Col. Karegeya who was found New Year’s day in a hotel room apparently strangled to death. Police found curtain strings and a bloodied towel inside a safe in the hotel room.
Separately Mozambique Police have announced the detention of at least four suspects in the case, including a Rwanda military officer, Lt. Col. Francis Gakwerere, according to media reports.
Thursday during a media briefing in Washington, D.C., Jen Psaki, the U.S. State Department’s top spokesperson said: “We condemn the murder of former Rwandan Government official Colonel Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, where he lived in exile. We welcome the South African Government’s prompt and thorough investigation into his death and await the outcome of that investigation. We also welcome their statement pledging – from January 9th, so just last week – to leave no stone unturned in bringing to justice those involved in this criminal act.”
Psaki also added: “And let me also say we are troubled by the succession of what appear to be politically motivated murders of prominent Rwandan exiles. President Kagame’s recent statements about ‘consequences’ for those who betray Rwanda are of deep concern to us.”
Karegeya was a founder of the opposition party Rwanda National Congress; he and many of his party colleagues were once close associates of Kagame. The party leaders, including exiled former Rwanda army chief of staff Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who also survived two assassination attempts in South Africa, say Kagame was responsible for Karegeya’s murder.
Three Tanzanians and three Rwandans are currently being tried in South Africa for the attempt to kill Gen. Nyamwasa in 2010.
Kagame’s support in the West, including by media, has dropped rapidly since a U.N. report condemned him for creating M23 the army blamed for committing war crimes in neighboring Congo.