A bloodied towel and rope were found in the hotel room in Johannesburg where former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya’s body was discovered on New Year’s Day.
Karegeya, who has been living in exile in South Africa since 2007, was found dead in a Sandton hotel room, Gauteng police said on Thursday.
The Mail & Guardian quotes Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale, a member of the South African police as saying Karegeya’s body was found at around 5.30pm at the Michelangelo Towers, a hotel on Maude Street, with his neck swollen.
A bloodied towel and rope were found in the hotel room safe. Mogale says there is a possibility that he might have been strangled. A case of murder has been opened by the Sandton police and investigations are underway.
The 53-year-old former senior military officer in Rwanda is said to have booked into the hotel on Sunday.
Earlier on Thursday, Rwanda National Congress (RNC), a party to which Karegeya was a member, said in a statement that he was assassinated by agents of President Paul Kagame’s government. AFP News agency quotes Frank Ntwali, the party’s chairperson for Africa as saying Karegeya was strangled by agents.
Karegeya was for a long time very close to Kagame in whose government he served as head of external intelligence for close to 10 years before the two fell out. Karegeya was demoted to army spokesperson and later arrested and jailed. He was stripped of all his ranks in 2006, a year before he fled into exile.
Another prominent Rwandan dissident in South Africa, former Rwanda Defence Forces Chief of Staff General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, survived two assassination attempts in June 2010.
The RNC statement said investigations had found “overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Rwandan intelligence operatives in those attempts”.
Rwanda has vehemently denied involvement in the attacks. Karegeya and Nyamwasa are both prominent figures in the opposition party, despite not holding specific posts.
Karegeya leaves behind his wife Leah and three children.