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Foreign agents in shooting of Rwandan general: S.Africa

by Staff Writers
Pretoria (AFP) July 1, 2010
Foreign "security operatives" were involved in the shooting of a Rwandan general who was living in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa's foreign ministry said Thursday.

General Faustin Nyamwasa was shot and wounded outside his Johannesburg home on June 19, four months after he came to South Africa seeking asylum.

Four people have been arrested, but police have declined to comment on their motive or identify their nationalities.

"This matter involves security operatives, and an attack on a person who has gone through the correct legal channels to seek asylum in South Africa," said Ayanda Ntsaluba, the foreign ministry's director general.

"It also involves a country with which we have good and strong diplomatic relations," he said. "This why we will not make a determination about where the suspected attackers of General Nyamwasa come from."

Nyamwasa's wife Rosette, who was in the car with him during the shooting, believes the attack was a political assassination attempt. Nothing was stolen during the incident, she said.

Rwanda has denied any role in the shooting.

"We want to be cautious and we are not pointing an accusing finger at any country," Ntsaluba said.

"It is accepted practice that the foreign missions of any country has fully declared intelligence and security operatives," he said. "If people from another country operate clandestinely, that is an entirely different dimension."

"They must not get caught because that compounds relations between countries," he added. "It cannot be taken lightly because that is subverting the stability of a country."

The Rwandan government has accused Nyamwasa, and former army colonel Patrick Karegeya, of masterminding grenade attacks earlier this year in the run-up to presidential elections in August.

Nyamwasa fled to South Africa in February after abandoning his post as Rwanda's envoy to India.

Prior to being sent to India, Nyamwasa, whose background is in military intelligence, was a powerful and respected figure in Kigali.

Five days after Nyamwasa's shooting, a journalist critical of Rwandan President Paul Kagame was shot dead in Kigali.

Jean-Leonard Rugambage was acting editor of Umuvugizi, a banned local-language newspaper. Its exiled editor said he believed the killing was linked to Rugambage's investigations into Nyamwasa's shooting.

Two people have been arrested over the journalist's killing, but police said the shooting was a revenge attack over Rugambage's alleged role in the 1994 genocide.

Rugambage did appear in 2005 before the Rwandan grass-roots courts tasked with trying those who carried out the genocide, but he was acquitted the following year.

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