Mozambique cops question Rwandan on spy chief case
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mozambican police questioned a Rwandan military officer in connection with the murder in South Africa of a former Rwandan spymaster, a private investigator said Wednesday.
Chad Thomas said a Rwandan by the name of Lt. Col. Francis Gakwerere had been questioned, but it was unclear if he or any other Rwandan nationals were being held in the neighboring country.
Gakwerere’s name was on a list of seven people claimed in a blog run by Rwandan dissidents to belong to a hit squad sent to South Africa to eliminate former Rwandan external intelligence chief Col. Patrick Karegeya.
The former spymaster’s body was discovered in a plush Johannesburg hotel on New Year’s Day. The dissidents’ blog said its information came from informers. It charged that some of the men on the list entered South Africa via Mozambique.
“Gakwerere was also a prime suspect in the failed hit on Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in 2010, but there was insufficient evidence to allow the charges to stick,” said Thomas, who would not disclose who hired his company’s services.
A report in South Africa’s New Age newspaper on Wednesday said that three Rwandan nationals had been arrested in a hotel in the Mozambican capital Maputo for the murder. But a spokesman for the police elite investigative unit The Hawks, Capt. Paul Ramaloko, said: “That’s not correct. Investigations are continuing but so far no arrests have been made.”
He added that the unit was receiving a “lot of sensitive information” regarding the case, all of which had to be verified. Local police were working closely with their Rwandan and Mozambican counterparts on the matter, he said.
Members of the Rwandan opposition and family and friends of Karegeya have accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of being behind the killing.
Police believe Karegeya might have been strangled, as a cord and bloodied towel were found at the murder scene.
Meanwhile, several sources - including Thomas - claim that the last man seen with Karegeya, Rwandan businessman Apollo Kiririsi Gafaranga, has been sighted back in Rwanda.