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Four Jailed for Attack on Rwandan Exile in South Africa

  • VOA News

A South African judge has handed down eight-year jail sentences to four men convicted of trying to kill a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The four men were found guilty last month of attempting to murder former Rwandan army chief General Kayumba Nyamwasa in Johannesburg in June 2010. Nyamwasa, who had fled to South Africa earlier that year, was shot in the stomach but survived.

FILE - Exiled Rwandan General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa looks on during his court appearance in Johannesburg, June 21 2012.

FILE - Exiled Rwandan General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa looks on during his court appearance in Johannesburg, June 21 2012.

Rwanda has denied allegations that it tries to kill dissidents abroad. The issue flared up again this year after an exiled Rwandan spy chief was found strangled at a Johannesburg hotel and armed men broke into Nyamwasa's home.

South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats allegedly connected to the break-in. Rwanda struck back by throwing out six South African diplomats from Rwanda.

The four men sentenced Wednesday include a Rwandan and three Tanzanians. In finding them guilty last month, Judge Stanley Mkhari said the assassination attempt was politically motivated.

Two other Rwandans that prosecutors said were involved in the shooting, including the alleged mastermind of the plot, were acquitted.

General Nyamwasa was once a close associate of President Kagame but fled to South Africa after a falling out with the Rwandan leader. Rwanda authorities have since charged him with terrorism for allegedly plotting grenade attacks in the capital, Kigali.

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