Rwandan High Commissioner downplays hotel 'assassination'

JOHANNESBURG - The Rwandan High Commissioner to South Africa says it’s too early to suggest that former spy chief Patrick Karegeya was assassinated.

“That is an emotional reaction and opportunistic way of playing politics. SA is an organized country. There is police. The hotel is in a posh area with all the security features. The wise way is to wait for the police.”, said Vincent Karega.

Karageya’s body was found on Wednesday at around 5:30pm at the Michelangelo Towers Hotel in Sandton.

Police spokesman, Lt-Col Katlego Mogale said Karegeya’s neck was swollen and a bloodied towel and rope were found in the hotel room safe.

"There is a possibility that he might have been strangled," she said.

The 53-year-old former Rwandan spy chief booked into the hotel on Sunday.

He had been living in exile in South Africa for a number of years.

On Thursday morning, the Rwanda National Congress said in a statement, “The Rwandan opposition is deeply saddened to announce the assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg.”

The party’s chairperson for Africa, Frank Ntwali, told AFP that he was “strangled by agents of [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame”.

But the high commissioner to South Africa denied this.

“It is unfortunate that any problem that they encounter is put on government. Yes there are other Rwandans who are not in any political activities who have been killed by robbers, who have encountered accidents in South Africa and because they belong to no political organisations, that has been taken as normal. But when it happens to this so-called dissident, they play it … politically.”

Police are investigating a case of murder.

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