Exiled former Rwandan former Intelligence Chief Patrick Karegeya has been found dead in a hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa. The opposition Rwanda National Congress (RNC) has issued a statement claiming Karegeya was murdered by the Rwandan authorities.
Karegeya, a central figure in the Rwandan Patriotic Army between 1990 and 1994, went on to head the external intelligence department in the post-genocide government. In 2007, he fell out with President Paul Kagame and was stripped of the rank of colonel. Karegeya fled into exile in South Africa, with Kagame accusing him of working to overthrow his government.
Kagame had accused Karegeya of involvement in terrorist attacks in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
There is no confirmation of reports by his party that he had been murdered. The opposition Rwanda National Congress (RNC) has issued a statement saying Karegeya was murdered by the Rwandan authorities. RNC Africa chairman Frank Ntwali says Karegeya’s body was found at the Michelangelo Towers where he’d gone for a meeting. There are unconfirmed reports that he was strangled.
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, the RNC Coordinator in a press statement on Thursday claimed that Karegeya was killed by the Kigali regime to intimidate and silence the Rwandan people into submission.
Colonel Karegeya according to Rudasingwa was a key figure in the Rwandan opposition. Amahoro People’s Congress says Colonel Karegeya was a courageous soldier who died on the battlefield.
A fellow exiled dissident, the former Rwandan army Chief of Staff, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, has survived two assassination attempts since fleeing to South Africa in 2010. In June 2010, General Kayumba was shot in the stomach by unknown assailants who attacked him at his residence.
Karegeya and Kayumba are founding members of the RNC party, which was formed in 2010. They have accused Kagame of being intolerant and targeting the dissenting voices, a claim the president has always denied.
The two men were among four exiled former top officials for whom Rwanda issued international arrest warrants in 2011. A military court sentenced them to long jail terms in absentia in 2011 for threatening state security and promoting ethnic divisions.