S.Africa court resumes Rwandan general attempted murder case

24th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The trial of six men charged with the attempted murder of Rwanda's exiled former army chief resumed Monday at a Johannesburg court with the cross examination of a key state witness.

General Faustin Nyamwasa was shot and wounded outside his Johannesburg home on June 19, 2010, four months after arriving in South Africa, after abandoning his diplomatic post in India.

Rwandan national Kalisa Mubarak told the court how he was approached by suspect Amani Uriwani about a plan to shoot a "Rwandan soldier" in South Africa.

Mubarak claims Uriwani offered him 10,000 rand ($1,500, 1,000 euros) to take part in the attack.

"I did not show interest in the job and chose to go to the police with the information," said Mubarak, who is in a witness protection programme.

Uriwani is charged with two other Rwandan nationals, Richard Bachisha and Pascal Kanyandekwe, and three Tanzanians -- Say Abodue, Hemedi Devengo and Hassan Nduli.

They have pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Kanyandekwe is facing an additional charge of corruption, after he tried to offer a police officer a bribe of $1 million in exchange of his freedom, according to court papers.

The trial is set down for 10 days for the state to call witnesses.

"We have over 40 witnesses and it is unlikely that we are going to be able to call all of them," said Shaun Abrahms, hinting at another extension of the trial.

Mubarak said he made a statement to the police and helped them find and arrest Uriwani.

Nyamwasa's wife Rosette, who was in the car with him during the shooting, believes the attack was a political assassination attempt as nothing was stolen during the incident.

The couple has been put under security protection since the accident.

The case has strained relations between South Africa and Rwanda, which wants to bring Nyamwasa home to serve a 24-year prison sentence after a military court tried him in absentia on charges of desertion, defamation and threatening state security.

Nyamwasa was tried with three other former top officials who co-authored a document slamming what they said was the repression of freedoms in Rwanda since Kagame's arrival in power in 1994.

© 2011 AFP

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