News / Africa

South Africa Finds 4 Guilty of Shooting Rwandan Exile

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

A South African court on Friday found four men guilty of trying to kill an exiled critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, in a case that had strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Former Rwandan army chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa survived being shot in the stomach as he was being driven into his Johannesburg home in 2010, the same year he fled Rwanda after falling out with former ally Kagame.

Another attempt on Nyamwasa's life in March this year intensified diplomatic tensions as South African Justice Minister Jeff Radebe warned Rwanda that “our country will not be used as a springboard to do illegal activities”.

Rwanda's ambassador in Pretoria responded by denying Kigali was involved in attacks against exiles and the countries traded tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats.

South African Magistrate Stanley Mkhari said four men - two Rwandan and two Tanzanians - were guilty of the first count to commit murder four years ago. He also found them guilty of joint possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Sentencing was expected next month.

Mkhari said there was not enough evidence to link two other accused - Nyamwasa's driver Richard Bachisa and Rwandan businessman Pascal Kanyandekwe - to the crimes.

Prosecutors had accused Kanyandekwe of being a key organizer of the attempted killing and of working with Bachisa, who had been driving Nyamwasa and his wife home when a gunman accosted them at the security gate.

South African police have also been investigating the New Year's Eve murder in a posh Johannesburg hotel of another exiled Kagame opponent, former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya.

Rwandan political exiles sheltering in other countries in Africa, Europe and the United States have pointed an accusing finger at Kigali for dozens of attacks on Kagame's critics on foreign soil, charges Rwandan leaders have dismissed.

Kagame, who has won Western praise for rebuilding Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, denies his government ordered the attacks, but has said “traitors” should expect consequences, a remark that dismayed Western donors of the Great Lakes state.

Rwanda's 1994 genocide saw Hutu soldiers and militia slaughter around 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis, while the international community largely stood by.

Critics say Kagame, who led his predominantly Tutsi rebel movement to power after the genocide and won support from Western powers as an ally in turbulent central Africa, has taken advantage of Western guilt over the genocide to increase persecution of opponents.

The United States has expressed concern at what it calls “politically motivated murders of prominent Rwandan exiles”.

South Africa has refused to extradite Nyamwasa despite a request by French authorities who say he is one of the officers who knew of Kagame's alleged order to shoot down a plane carrying the then presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, which triggered the 1994 genocide.

Spain has also sought Nyamwasa's extradition for war crimes and crimes against humanity in respect to the murder of Spanish citizens in Rwanda and the massacre of thousands of Hutu refugees at a football stadium.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid