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Six Arrested Over Kayumba Shooting of Rwandan in South Africa

Published on Wednesday 23rd June 2010 Six Arrested Over Kayumba Shooting of Rwandan in South Africa

The South African police have arrested half a dozen people in connection with the weekend shooting of renegade Rwandan General, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, which the official says was an assassination attempt.

South Africa Police spokesman Govindsamy Mariemuthoo declined to give particulars of the suspects or where they are being held. However, sources familiar with the ongoing investigations told this newspaper in Johannesburg, that the six suspects are believed to be Rwandan nationals living in South Africa.

Steady recovery

Gen. Nyamwasa, a former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan army, was shot in the stomach by a lone gunman who fled after the pistol jammed as the general tried to disarm him.

Gen. Nyamwasa was reported to be recovering steadily and in better spirits at Morningside Clinic in Johannesburg where he was taken after the midday attack at his Melrose Arch residence. The South African High Commission in Kampala yesterday said the matter of Gen. Nyamwasa's shooting is "sensitive".

"We can at this stage only confirm that certain arrests were made by the South African Police Force in this regard," Van Niekerk, the counsellor (political), wrote in reply to our e-mail enquiries yesterday. "The investigations are ongoing and at a sensitive stage and we thus have no further comment on the matter."

Gen. Nyamwasa's wife has accused President Paul Kagame's government of complicity in the shooting but Rwanda has vehemently denied the allegations. The nationality of the suspects is likely to be a major factor in helping explain the motive of the attack. Eyewitnesses said the gunman had spoken in Swahili as he fought off Gen. Nyamwasa's driver.

Precise particulars of the suspects will only be known sometime this week when they are expected to appear in court to answer possible charges of attempted homicide. It emerged yesterday that more arrests could be made as South African detectives believe more people might have been involved in planning and executing the attack.

The South African government was by press time yesterday yet to issue a statement on the shooting which occurred at a time when the southern African country is hosting the World Cup. Rwanda had previously asked South Africa to arrest and extradite Gen. Nyamwasa who fled to the country in February. President Jacob Zuma, however, said his country will commit to international obligations for asylum seekers.

Allegations dismissed

President Kagame says the general, who was Rwanda's Ambassador to India at the time he fled, was "running away from accountability" after being linked by prosecutors to grenade explosions in Kigali between February and March.

The Rwandan government has dismissed the allegations that it plotted to assassinate Gen. Nyamwasa as "preposterous and far-fetched". "This [assassination of opponents] is not something that President Kagame does. He's a man of integrity," Foreign Affairs Minister/government Spokesperson Louise Mushikiwabo told Daily Monitor on Sunday.

It is still unclear what the motive of the attack is or who is behind it. At the hospital, Gen. Nyamwasa was able to speak but security at the medical facility remained tight.

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