Johannesburg - The recent murder of former Rwanda Army Colonel, Patrick Karegeya, has left some exiles living in South Africa panicking and unsure about their safety.
The former army man, who was 53, was found dead on his bed in the upmarket Michelangelo Towers Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. He is believed to have been murdered.
This follows numerous other attempts on the life of another former Rwanda army chief, Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in 2010. Nyamwasa is also living in exile in South Africa.
Rwandan exiles, most who fled the 1994 genocide and the subsequent political tensions, and fled to South Africa are visibly concerned about their security following the death of Karegeya.
“While the democratic space in South Africa looks excellent, it is the security and safety that worries me most. Well, I have come to accept that I leave everything in the hands of the Almighty Jehovah God otherwise we all not safe here in South Africa as the death of the Colonel shows,” said Bridget Ssuuna, a Rwanda refugee in Yeoville, Johannesburg.
“Sometimes refugees found themselves between a rock and a hard place, but what else can we do,” she said.
Exiles from other countries also feared the tormentors that they fled from their mother countries might attack them in South Africa.
"Safety is the weakest link in this country. We have seen hundreds of thousands of foreigners, both economic and political refugees being murdered in cold blood under xenophobic attacks.
"We have also witnessed police officers being involved in such cruelty, criminality and unleashing xenophobic vendettas against refugees and foreigners. Now my question is, how police would protect exiles or foreigners from professionally hired assassins when themselves are part of this big problem?” said Nigerian Yakubu Adebanji of Berea, Johannesburg.
Independent media and political analyst, Mr. Trust Matsilele, said the death of Col. Karegeya under mysterious circumstances posed threats of security of people living in exile.
"This death pointing to possible assassination in a public space like a hotel demonstrates what African governments, especially those fighting for power retention can do just to retain power.
"This exactly raise serious issues not only of leading political actors but ordinary citizens who can be viewed to be sympathetic voices in home countries
"Rwanda, a country recovering from a genocide perhaps one of the worst in Africa should ensure rights of opposition polical players as incidences like this could push the country back to a precipice," said Matsilele.
Matsilele added: "Should it be established that president Kagame'
government was behind the death of this political, one can not rule out a possible internal revolt and if not handled with care another genocide could be the ultimate tragedy."
He said the murder of Col.Karegeya was to South Africa's interest to establish all facts related to the death in an attempt to close loopholes on its security apparatus
"......factoring that his co-accused (Lt-General Nyamwasa) was once shot in Johannesburg clearly demonstrates that this could not be an isolated case but possibly something political," Matsilele said.
Shaunesu Mudukuti, a Zimbabwean national, who fled the political problems in his country, said he was even afraid to give relatives or friends his residential address lest some people tracked her down his place of residence.
“You don't really know who to trust in this country. People have turned monsters. It is high time people should start safeguarding themselves by not revealing where they live or their places of entertainment,” she said.
Karegeya is believed to have been killed by a man purporting to be a Rwandan businessman. According to reports, the assailant is called Apollo.
Commenting about the death of his colleague, Nyamwasa, was quoted as saying, “I am 100 percent certain it was the government.”
Karegeya’s wife, Leah has been living in the United States for three years citing lack of security and safety in South Africa.
- CAJ News