Former Rwandan army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa - a top critic of Rwanda's authoritarian leader, Paul Kagame - was shot Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa, in an apparent assassination attempt.
Johannesburg, South Africa
A top critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the former Rwandan army chief Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, was shot Saturday in front of his house in what police are treating as an assassination attempt.
Gen. Nyamwasa has been living in exile in South Africa since February, when President Kagame’s government accused him of launching grenade attacks in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, and also masterminding a failed coup attempt back in 2001. Nyamwasa, who was shot once in the stomach, is reported to be in stable condition in a Johannesburg hospital.
The apparent assassination attempt comes just months before Rwanda’s second set of scheduled elections since Kagame came to power, sweeping aside a Hutu majority government that is blamed for launching a genocide that killed 800,000 Rwandans, most of them ethnic Tutsis.Kagame, Nyamwasa, and much of his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, are members of the ethnic Tutsi minority.
The shooting also comes after a series of troubling events – the banning of two independent newspapers, the arrest of Kagame’s chief opponent in the presidential elections for “genocide denial,” and the defection of several high-level RPF members – that call into question Kagame’s credentials as a democratic leader.
Kagame’s 16-year rule over Rwanda has created a state where there is very little political space for opposition and dissent, says Jason Stearns, an independent analyst and former UN panelist on Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.