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Rwanda grenade blasts signal unrest ahead of elections

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A set of grenade attacks in the normally quiet Rwandan capital of Kigali, together with the recent flight of a top former Rwandan military commander to South Africa have added a glint of danger to the looming elections in September this year.

Police say that it’s not clear who was behind the two coordinated grenade attacks in Kigali Thursday night, in which 16 were injured. A previous trio of grenade attacks on Feb. 19 in Kigali killed at least one person and injured 30. Rwandan authorities put the blame for the previous attack on Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, which the former army chief of state denies.

Nyamwasa, who had been serving as Rwanda’s ambassador to India, fled to exile in South Africa last week and immediately sought South Africa’s protection. South African authorities say they have not arrested him because they do not have an extradition treaty with Rwanda.

“The regime in Kigali is really descending into total dictatorship and you know absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Gen. Nyamwasa told Voice of America in an exclusive interview. “So, in this case you don’t have to have a different opinion, you are not supposed to debate and if you are perceived to have a different opinion on anything, then you are an enemy.”

Unrest ahead of elections

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