A former bodyguard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who had become his fierce critic while living in South Africa, has been killed during a robbery in South Africa.
Rwanda’s Minister of State in for Foreign Affairs in charge of the East African Community Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the killing of Camir Nkurunziza, but noted that he was killed while on a robbery mission, in a tweet.
“So, Nkurunziza, a member of terrorist organizations RNC of Kayumba Nyamwasa then FLN of Nsabimana, was also a hijacker in South Africa. He was killed yesterday evening by the Goodwood Police while resisting arrest with a knife. Once a criminal, always a criminal,” Nduhungirehe said.
Rwandan high commissioner to SA Vincent Karega confirmed that Camir Nkuruziza was a metered taxi driver who was hijacked on the corner of Hugo and Milton roads in Goodwood around 5pm.
Karega said the hijackers put Nkuruziza in the backseat of the car and sped off before he was killed in the crossfire in the shootout with the police.
“Probably they wanted to take the car … Maybe they wanted to take him somewhere it is dark or so and dump him. I don’t know‚” Karega said.
Nkurunziza was on Thursday evening shot dead in Cape Town in South Africa. Sources in South Africa who spoke to Saturday Vision revealed that Nkurunziza was shot dead together with a colleague he was travelling with in their private car. His death is similar to that of Seth Sendashonga, Rwanda’s former interior minister, who was gunned down in his car in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on May 16, 1998.
Nkurunziza is a brother of Sergeant Innocent Karisa who was kidnapped from Uganda by Ugandan police and handed over to Rwanda after being accused of recruiting for the Rwanda National Congress.
Nkurunziza fled to exile in South Africa after accusing Kagame of planning to rule Rwandans by force, torture of opponents and Kagame also accused him of planning a coup.
He later joined the RNC but by the time of his death, he was linked to the recently arrested Rwandan dissident Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara of the National Liberation Movement (NLM).
Nkurinzinza’s death comes hardly a week after Kagame visited South Africa for the swearing in Ceremony of President Cyril Ramaphosa. Kagame in an interview with the media accused the dissidents in South Africa of being responsible for his sour relationship with Uganda.
No suspects had been arrested yet by Friday. However Kagame critics who spoke to Saturday Vision noted that the killings had hallmarks of Rwandese intelligence.
Rwandese Ambassador to Uganda Maj. Gen Frank Mugambage denied the killings. “Where did you get it from? I have no idea about it,” he said
This would not be the first time, Rwanda has been linked to the killings of dissidents opposed to Kagame. In 2013, former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was found strangled at a hotel in South Africa.
A South African media quoted Police sources saying that Nkurunziza had been shot in the Goodwood suburb of Cape Town and that he was part of a gang of hijackers who had pounced on an unsuspecting victim.
Watch the shooting incident below (warning for sensitive viewers not to watch this):
“However, their getaway attempt came to a crashing halt, before an altercation between authorities and the criminals lead to a deadly standoff,” the media reported.
Rwanda’s exiled former army chief Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa who is South Africa and has survived serval assassination attempts accused Kigali of intimidating and terrorizing the opposition.
“It is the way the government of Rwanda works. If you oppose Kagame, he will either kill you or he will imprison you and if he doesn’t imprison you, he will harass you,” he said.
In April this year, a south African Court ruled in the inquest into the 2013 murder of Karegeya that the four suspects linked to the murder were known and “directly linked” to Rwanda’s government. The four men include Appollo Ismael Kiririsi, Samuel Niyoyita, Nshizirungu Vianney and Alex Sugira are all Rwandan nationals who fled South Africa shortly after the murder.
Randburg Magistrate Mashiane Mathopa in her 20 minute inquest ruling noted that there was a prima facie case to answer and he was sending the matter to South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Karegeya’s Widow Leah noted that they were extremely happy with the ruling. “We are extremely happy as a family that justice has been done. They have confirmed what we had originally believed. The judge has confirmed the government of Rwanda‘s involvement in the murder.
Testimony from South Africa’s special investigative unit, was submitted as part of the inquest. The Hawks had been asked by the magistrate to explain what steps it had taken to secure the arrest of the four suspects in the past five years.
The Hawks investigating officer Kwena Motlhamme in his statement indicated that Karegeya’s murder, along with several attacks in Johannesburg on Rwanda’s exiled army chief of staff Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa “were directly linked to the involvement of the Rwandan government”.
He also indicated that relations between South Africa and Rwanda were put under pressure as a result, with both countries withdrawing their ambassadors.
He also noted that the fact that Rwanda and South Africa did not have any extradition treaty made it almost impossible for any attempt to locate the suspects from their country of origin.
Karegeya, who sought asylum in South Africa after fleeing Rwanda, was found strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg in 2013. Rwanda accused Karegeya cofounder of the Rwanda National Congress of subversive activities which included throwing detonating grenades in Kigali town that left many dead.
However in an interview with Saturday Vision last week, Karegeya’s widow claimed her husband had been framed. He noted that Karegeya and Rwandan President Paul Kagame had fundamental disagreement especially on the way the President was becoming a dictator.
“I actually have a testimony in which he said the many thing that led to their disagreement. But what I know personally he didn’t wanted to use him against colleagues of his who had fallen out with him and he refused,” Leah said. — New Vision