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Former Rwanda official accuses president of ordering killing that sparked genocide

A former army chief of staff and ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame [official profile] on Thursday accused the president of having ordered the killing of his preceding president, Juvenal Habyarimana [Britannica profile]. During his testimony in a Johannesburg court assessing his own attempted murder in 2010 in South Africa, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa [Washington Times profile] claimed [WP report] that the killing of the former president sparked the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive] during which 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus were killed. Nyamwasa, after tensions with Kagame, fled to South Africa in 2010 where he was shot [BBC report] in front of his home. When the Johannesburg court asked Nyamwasa about the motive of the six individuals accused of attempting to kill him, the former army chief of staff stated that the Rwandan president wants him dead because of his knowledge about Kagame's involvement in the 1994 assassination. The Rwandan government has denied any involvement in the attempted murder two years ago.

This is not the first time the current Rwandan president has been accused of responsibility for the 1994 genocide. Theogene Rudasingwa, the former right-hand man of the Rwandan president, has accused Kagame multiple times of his involvement in the assassination. In April Rudasingwa testified [AllAfrica report] in Paris that witnesses who have information surrounding the killing of the former president should be protected because Kagame is allegedly trying to eliminate anyone having such information. He made the same accusations [BBC report; Facebook Notes] in October. In June 2011, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrant Rights (CoRMSA) [advocacy websites] filed suit [JURIST report] against the government of South Africa to revoke the refugee status of Nyamwasa. In early 2011 the Rwanda National Police Force [official website] issued [JURIST report] an international arrest warrant against four officials including Nyamwasa after a military court found them guilty in absentia [AFP report] of disturbing public order, threatening state security and other offenses, handing down sentences ranging from 20 to 24 years in prison.

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