Rwanda government denies link to assassinations

By Rob Walker
BBC News

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said her government has no reason to order assassinations

Rwanda's government has issued a statement denying any involvement in the killing of political opponents.

The comments are in response to allegations made during a BBC investigation that President Paul Kagame's government had ordered assassinations.

In recent months there has been a spate of attacks on government critics.

"For sure my government and president are not involved in any way," said Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

"This is a leadership that is quite popular and therefore wouldn't gain anything from insecurity, killings and assassinations," she added.

International concern

In the run-up to this month's presidential election, a series of attacks has served to overshadow the campaign, instilling a sense of fear among opposition parties.

In June, the former head of the Rwandan army was shot in South Africa. He survived and said President Kagame had ordered the attack.

Days later, a journalist investigating that shooting was murdered in Rwanda. His editor said this was on the orders of the government.

Then last month, an opposition politician was brutally murdered.

The Rwandan government has vehemently denied any involvement in the attacks. But the events have raised international concern about what is happening in Rwanda.

Critics say there is a long history of murders and disappearances of political opponents in Rwanda.

Image source, AP
Image caption, President Paul Kagame came to power after his army helped to end the Rwandan genocide

A former foreign intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya, told the BBC that he knew of a series of political killings ordered by President Kagame.

"He believes in killing his opponents, that is the problem I have with them, there is a long list of people that have died politically," said Mr Karegeya.

"I was in a position to know so I think I am talking from a point of knowledge."

However the Rwandan government has accused Mr Karegeya of being behind a grenade attack on the Rwandan capital, Kigali, earlier this year.

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