Rwanda shooting case begins in SA
6/30/2010 1:35:10 PM -
Four men have appeared in court in South Africa accused of the attempted murder of former Rwandan army chief of staff Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.
Prosecutors said the accused were from Tanzania, Somalia and Mozambique, AP news agency reports.
The case has been postponed until next month so their legal status in the country can be confirmed.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa, who was shot in the stomach earlier this month in Johannesburg, is said to be recovering.
Rwanda has denied accusations it tried to assassinate Lt Gen Nyamwasa, a former ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame who fled to South Africa earlier this year.
According to the South Africa Press Association, it was established in court that the defendants had previous convictions related to possession of stolen goods.
Last week, South Africa police dropped attempted murder charges against two other people arrested after the shooting.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa's wife, Rosette, said a lone gunman approached the car after the couple returned to their house from a shopping trip on Saturday 19 June.
The gunman told the driver of their car to allow space so he could aim at Lt Gen Nyamwasa, she said.
Rwanda had asked South Africa to extradite both Lt Gen Nyamwasa and Patrick Karegeya, a former colonel in the Rwandan army also living in exile in South Africa.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa is accused of being behind grenade attacks in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, earlier this year in which more than 30 people were injured and one person was killed.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa has denied the allegations.
Last week, Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, who had been investigating the general's case, was shot dead outside his home in Kigali.
The Rwandan authorities say that two men have been arrested for that attack which they say was a revenge killing, denying reports it was linked to the exiled general.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa fled to South Africa in February and has since accused the president of corruption - charges Mr Kagame denies.
There have been several recent defections from the military ahead of elections due in August.
Lt Gen Nyamwasa played an important role in the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Mr Kagame, which put a stop to the 1994 genocide and which is now in power.
But France and Spain have issued arrest warrants against Mr Nyamwasa for his alleged role in killings in the lead-up to and during the genocide, along with other senior RPF figures.
Mr Kagame is viewed by many in the West as one of Africa's more dynamic leaders.
However critics have raised concerns about his more authoritarian tendencies and the government has recently been accused of harassing the opposition ahead of the elections.