Brussels: Was the Rwandan Tutsi prince, John Rwigemera, assassinated?
By AfroAmerica Network.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007.
photo: Rwandan King
John Rwigemera, a Rwandan Tutsi prince, died last week after suddenly falling ill. John Rwigemera, whose uncle was the last Rwandan Tutsi King Kigeli V John Baptiste Ndahindurwa, fled Rwanda in 1973 and has been living in Belgium.
The Rwanan Government led by General Paul Kagame has recently suspected John Rwigemera of being a member of the Rwandan rebel group, Rally for the Rwandan People (RPR), made mainly of Tutsis and former RPF members. RPR has allied itself with a mainly Hutu rebel movement, the Rally for Unity and Development (RUD-Urunana). Both armed rebels groups have troops operating inside Rwanda and on the borders between Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Recently, 10 members of these two groups were detained in Uganda. They were accused of recruiting soldiers from Tutsi refugee camps and sending them over the border to fight in Rwanda. Ugandan authorities extradited them to Rwanda. According to sources close to the Rwandan military intelligence (DMI), some of those extradited were tortured, and in the process mentioned the name of John Rwigemera as one of the leaders of the RPR group. Since then, according to the same sources, the DMI put in motion the order to assassinate the prince.
John Rwigemera himself was very accessible. He was a taxi cab driver in Brussels. However, the Rwandan government feared his physical elimination would deepen even further the widening rift among Tutsi who support the monarchy and those allied to General Paul Kagame who form the elite governing Rwanda. General Paul Kagame is from the Abega clan, whereas the Rwandan Tutsi Kings were from the clan of Abasindi-Abanyiginya. Traditionally, Abega supplied brides to the Abanyiginya princes. However, in 1896, an Abega queen, Kanjogera, who is also an ancestor of General Paul Kagame, organized a coup against her stepson and legal Tutsi King, Mutara Rutarindwa, killed him, and crowned her own biological son, Yuhi IV Musinga. A rift among Abega and Abanyiginya ensued, up to today. The rift is so severe that when General Paul Kagame took over power, none of the Abanyiginya princes or the former King Kigeli Ndahindurwa rushed home, despite more than 30 years of exile.
John Rigemera was resuming his shift as a tax cab driver, after meeting a few friends when he did not feel good. He went home to take a rest blaming fatigue. When he got home, his situation worsened and he called in an ambulance. When the ambulance got at his home, John Rwigemera was no more. Belgian medical experts blamed heart failure but could not explain the cause of the heart failure.
The sudden death of John Rwigemera reminds of the death of his brother in Nairobi a few years ago. The brother also fell ill and was dead in a few hours. His sudden death was blamed on Kagame’s DMI, but there was no follow-up. Whether John Rwigemera was eliminated because of his alleged association with the Rwanda rebels or because of the rift between Abega and Abanyiginya remains a mystery. What is sure is that the death of John Rwigemera will widen the rift between the Rwandan remaining Abanyiginya Tutsi princes and Kings, led by Kigeli Ndahindurwa and his nephews the Rwigemera, and their nemesis Abega, led by General Paul Kagame.
©AfroAmerica Network, May 2007.
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