By Henry Gombya
British Police have foiled an attempt by the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame to assassinate two Rwandan exiles living in London. In what will no doubt be a major embarrassment to the Kagame regime, Britain’s elite police force, Scotland Yard, acting in conjunction with Britain’s spy agencies, stopped a man they suspected have been sent from Rwanda to enter the country and kill Kagame’s opponents in London.
During last night’s BBC Newsnight programme, two Rwandan exiles Rene Mugenzi and Jonathan Musonera confirmed that Scotland Yard had contacted them a week ago that their lives were in danger of being bumped off by a hitman sent by the Rwandan Government. The would-be assassin was apprehended at Folkestone in Kent and was refused entry. Mugenzi and Musonera are part of the new Rwanda National Congress (RNC) that was formed here in London recently to mount a challenge against the Kagame regime. Scotland Yard then told them their safety could no longer be guaranteed. The police told them: “The Rwandan government poses an immediate threat to your life. The threat could come in any form.”
This threat by the Kagame regime will send shockwaves to those who have fled their countries and sought refuge in Britain. The warning by British police that the Kagame regime had indeed tried to send a hitman in England reminded Rwanda exiles of an attempt last year on the life of former Rwandan army chief Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa when a hitman shot and wounded him while he was shopping in Johannesburg where he lives in exile.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Britain, Mr Ernest Rwamucyo, denied the accusations. He was quoted by the BBC as having said: “The government of Rwanda does not threaten the lives of its citizens wherever they may live.” Shortly before the Royal Wedding last month that he was invited to, Mr Rwamucyo was told by Britain’s Security Service, the MI5, that Britain’s £83m aid to Rwanda could be cut unless the secret activities against members of the diaspora were halted. Expatriates claim that they have been threatened and intimidated by diplomatic officials.
Last month, Rwandan exiles met in London and formed the RNC. The meeting was attended by both the minority Tutsis who are now the ruling class in Rwanda, and the majority Hutus who largely formed that last government of Gen Habyalimana. The meeting heard from a former Rwandan chief of staff, Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who addressed the gathering by video link from South Africa, where he survived an assassination attempt in June 2010.
The Rwanda government has denied any links to the shooting of Gen Nyamwasa, who was a close ally of Mr Kagame before fleeing to South Africa last year. The party representing the imprisoned Hutu politician, Victoire Ingabire, was also at the meeting. The possibility that the Hutu and Tutsi political parties could begin working together would be worrying for the Rwandan government, a BBC correspondent says.
Reacting to reports of a Rwandan assassin trying to enter the United Kingdom, Mr Musonera said he and his family were very scared. “I was not surprised, because this is not the first time they’ve tried to disturb the opposition,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme after learning about the death threat. “I take this problem very seriously. I used to drive my car. Right now I stopped because the police told me to use limited movement or go out with friends. “My wife, she is scared. We have cut off the home phone. The children now they stay at home, they can’t go out. They can’t go out with friends. I stopped visitors coming to our home.”