France, seek, extradition, dissident, Rwanda, General Nyamwasa

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Updated on Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 20:31 IST
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Johannesburg: France has requested South Africa to extradite a Rwandan general, who was once a high commissioner to India, to face charges related to his alleged role in the 1994 assassination of the leaders of Rwanda and Burundi.

Lieutenant-General Kayumba Nyamwasa was the chief of the Rwandan Army until 2010, when he fled to South Africa after falling out with Rwandan president Paul Kagame and is seeking asylum in South Africa.

Justice ministry spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that France had requested South Africa to extradite lieutenant-general Kayumba Nyamwasa, adding to a similar request by Rwanda to do the same.

Nyamwasa is wanted in Rwanda to address allegations of his involvement in mortar attacks in the country in February this year before he fled to South Africa, where his application for refugee status is still pending.

The former military head was also found guilty in 2006 France for his involvement in shooting down an aircraft in 1994, killing the former presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and sparking a civil war in Rwanda which left hundreds of thousands dead.

In 2008, Nyamwasa was found guilty in Spain for complicity in the murder of nine Spanish nuns and emergency workers.

Meanwhile, experts have said that the South African government would have to first consider the extradition requests from Rwanda before that of France.

"He will have to provide evidence that his life would be in danger if he is extradited. The recent attempt on his life will probably be part thereof," said Prof Andre Thomashausen of the Centre for International Studies at the University of South Africa.

Nyamwasa survived an alleged assassination attempt recently outside his house in Johannesburg, for which four men are currently facing charges.

He served as Rwanda's High Commissioner to India from 2004-2010.

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