South Africa Asks Rwanda To Extradite Suspects In Murder Of Former Intelligence Chief Karegeya

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
intelligence chief
This undated file photo taken in Kigali, Rwanda shows Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda’s former spy chief, who was found dead in a hotel in South Africa, police said on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. South African is applying for the extradition of two of the men thought to be involved in the murder. (AP Photo, File)

In a move that is expected to negatively impact relations between the two countries, South Africa has asked Rwanda to extradite two men suspected of a high-profile murder in Johannesburg in 2013.

Former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was killed on New Year’s Eve 2013. His body was found the next day in a high-end hotel in South Africa’s financial hub.

South African prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for two of four murder suspects, both believed to be in Rwanda, Daily Maverick reports.

The prosecutors want Rwanda to extradite Ismael Gafaranga and Alex Sugira, who are from Rwanda.

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The South African police believe that Gafaranga, Sugira and two other hitmen were sent from Rwanda to kill Karegeya, according to The Guardian.

Intelligence chief fled Rwanda

The former head of intelligence had fallen out with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and fled to South Africa in 2010 after serving prison time for insubordination.

General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, Rwanda’s former army chief of staff, later joined Karegeya in South Africa, setting up the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition party in exile.

Rwanda has denounced the exiled opposition group as a terrorist organization and has repeatedly asked South Africa to send its members to Kigali to face trial.

Those requests have been ignored by South African authorities.

AfriForum, a South African group that works for Afrikaner rights, has pressured the South African government to prosecute the case against the suspected murderers, according to News24.

AfriForum said it believes that the South African government stalled on issuing arrest warrants for the people implicated in the murder until now to avoid offending Rwanda, Daily Maverick reports.