25 June 2010

Uganda: Two Nyamwasa Shooting Suspects Freed

Two of six men South African police arrested and detained in connection with the June 19 shooting of exiled Rwandan military general, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, have been released.

Police Spokesman, Brig. Govindsamy Mariemuthoo, who spoke to the South African Press Association, did not say why the preferred charges of attempted murder against the two suspects had been discontinued.

Separately, South Africa has confirmed receipt of an extradition request from the government of Rwanda for Gen. Nyamwasa and the country's ex-Intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya - both linked to grenade explosions that stoked security fears in Kigali early this year.

Both men, seeking refuge in the Rainbow Nation deny the allegations. And President Jacob Zuma previously indicated his country will commit to international obligations for asylum seekers.

Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo, told this newspaper that prosecutors are pursuing Gen. Nyamwasa for his "involvement with elements that were involved with the insecurity - throwing of grenades - in Kigali."

Sixteen people were, in March this year, injured in two almost-simultaneous grenade attacks; one at a car-washing bay and the other at a bus station in a wealthy Kigali suburb.

Earlier, two people died and several others were wounded when a grenade exploded on them on February 19. Gen. Nyamwasa, whom President Kagame says is in exile to escape "accountability", denies any wrongdoing and instead accuses Gen. Kagame of turning a dictator.

Both men, having polished their military career in Uganda, played crucial roles in the Rwanda Patriotic Front guerilla war that eventually brought the present government in Kigali to power after the 1994 genocide.

Rosette, wife to Nyamwasa, has since accused President Kagame of plotting to sniff out her husband, an allegation Rwanda describes as "preposterous and far-fetched".

Minister Mushikiwabo told this newspaper early this week that they are pressing ahead with the extradition of Gen. Nyamwasa and hope he recovers to face charges back home.

Four remanded

The other four persons believed to have masterminded Saturday's attack on the renegade briefly appeared in Johannesburg Magistrate's Courts on Wednesday, but were taken back into custody until June 29 when they will re-appear in court.

Their details - nationalities, motive and perhaps accomplices - are yet to be formally made public. A source close to the investigations, however, told this newspaper earlier this week that the suspects are Rwandans living in South Africa.

Gen. Nyamwasa, who until his escape in late February was Rwanda's ambassador to India, alleges that he is being hounded by the government on fabricated charges. A lone assailant, armed with a pistol, waylaid and shot the general in the stomach, when he was being chauffeured with wife Rosette to their house in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb.

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