By Staff Writer
The murder of former army lieutenant Revocant Karemangingo in Maputo on Monday has raised questions over the reasons behind Rwanda’s troop deployment to fight militants in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado in June.
Karemangingo, who was the Vice President and Treasurer for the Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique, was shot nine times in an ambush while driving his car, according to Mozambican police, who as yet have found no motive for the killings.
Karemangingo previously alleged an assassination attempt in 2016, which failed due to using a different vehicle.
The disappearance of journalist and Kagame critic Cassien Ntamuhanga in May 2021 and the murder of opposition politician Seif Bamporiki in February in Nyanga Cape Town soon followed.
South African based spokesperson for the opposition Rwanda National Congress, Bamporiki’s party, Étienne Mutabazi, has alleged that the assassination of Karemangingo and disappearance of Ntamuhanga are linked to the deployment of Rwandan troops to Mozambique’s restive Cabo Delgado province.
Mutabazi further alleges a role played by Rwandan High Commissioner to Mozambique Claude Nicobisanzwe, based at the South African embassy, in 2013 when another Rwandan dissident Patrick Karegeya was assassinated. Nicobisanzwe’s expulsion from South Africa was alleged to result from his role in the assassination.
While not commenting on the recent assassination, the regime has long denied a role in such activities and accused dissidents of financing instability in Kigali. However, in response to the assassination of Karegeya in 2014, who at the time was advising South African and Tanzanian officials on defeating the Rwandan supported M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kagame reportedly said at a prayer meeting, “You can’t betray Rwanda and not get punished for it.”
Kagame remains popular in Rwanda, which has seen vast economic growth in recent decades. However, human rights groups have pointed to the president’s worsening record. Journalists have been killed, and opposition figures forced into exile.
Kagame altered the country’s constitution in 2015, and following his victory in the 2017 poll, can run for another two presidential terms. Rwandan troops have been since June been deployed in Mozambique, with much success, especially in forcing militants from the port city of Mocimboa Da Praia in August.
The French oil giant Total has announced that it will restart operations before the end of 2021, with analysts arguing that the Rwandan deployment was linked to French requests. The country, however, remains mainly underdeveloped, despite the recent gas finds, and there is no actual policy to tackle the poverty endemic to the Northern Cabo Delgado province, wherein the gas lays, but whose indicators are lower than that of the more central regions.
With assistance from the BBC, Daily Maverick, and the Associated Press