Rwandan exiles demand more protection after 'assassination' in South Africa

Peta Thornycroft
·2 min read
South African police said the killing of Seif Bamporiki was probably motivated by 'robbery'
South African police said the killing of Seif Bamporiki was probably motivated by 'robbery'

The South African government must do more to prevent the assassination of Rwandan opposition figures on its soil, exiles have said.

South African police have launched a murder investigation after Seif Bamporiki, chairman of Rwanda’s banned opposition party, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) was shot dead on Sunday while delivering furniture in Cape Town.

The two assailants also stole Mr Bamporiki’s van and mobile phone.

A police spokesman said there was reason to believe the motive was 'robbery' but Rwandans in exile say it fits a pattern of targeted assassinations by Kigali under President Paul Kagame.

Mr Kagame has long denied the accusations.

A companion of Mr Bamporiki managed to escape but told police he had not heard the attackers speak so could not tell where they came from.

Colonel Andrè Traut, spokesman for the South African police in the Western Cape, said: “We have reason to believe the motive for the murder was robbery.”

“We are writing to the South African foreign affairs people to tell them they have been allowing people to come into South Africa to do these things and it’s impacting on their territorial integrity,” General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who was Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army from 1998 to 2002, told South Africa’s Daily Maverick newspaper.

“At a certain stage, South Africans will start being killed, and they won’t like that,” said Mr Nyamwasa, who has survived several assassination attempts since fleeing to South Africa 11 years ago.

South Africa’s foreign affairs spokesman, Lunga Ngqengelele, said: “We can’t comment on the incident until the police have confirmed what happened.”

Colonel Patrick Karegeya, formerly President Kagame’s external intelligence chief, fled to South Africa in 2006 where he helped form the RNC. Seven years later he was strangled to death in a glamorous Johannesburg hotel.

South Africa’s relations with Kigali are not as cold as they were after Colonel Karegeya’s murder, but are still not “fraternal,” one source told the Telegraph yesterday.

Several other Rwandan exiles have also died in mysterious circumstances in South Africa.

Mr Bamporiki leaves behind a widow and three children who are also refugees in South Africa.