UK police warn of ‘Rwanda assassination plot’

Foreign minister denies Kigali has any involvement in alleged plan to kill dissidents living in Britain.

UK police generic
Rene Mugenzi is one of two men who are allegedly targets in an assassination plot [Al Jazeera]

British police have warned two Rwandan dissidents living in the UK that their lives are in danger because they could be the target of an assassination plot by the Rwandan government.

Police delivered so-called threat-to-life warning notices to Rene Mugenzi and Jonathan Musonera, both critics of Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Monday, Mugenzi said that he and his family had taken security measures since receiving the warning last week.

“My movements have changed. I always have to go [out] with someone and when I’m moving around London, where I’m living, I have to look back if there is anyone following me,” he said.

He said it was possible that he was being targeted because of his participation in events in the UK, where he has been working with Rwandan opposition groups.

“Also, I asked questions for Kagame on the BBC World Service, asking him if what’s happening in North Africa can happen in Rwanda,” he told Al Jazeera.

Allegations denied

Rwanda has denied any involvement in an alleged assassination plot against either Musonera or Mugenzi.

“Those allegations are far-fetched. The Rwandan government does not do business that way,” Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister, told Al Jazeera from Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

“This man [Mugenzi] is not known in Rwanda. To think that president Kagame would feel threatened by an individual like that I think is really far-fetched.”

Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda would welcome further investigation into the allegations.

“I’m worried that some people might be falling into the trap of diaspora elements who are opposed to this government and we very much want light shed on this issue,” she said.

UK police delivered the warning letters to Mugenzi and Musonera on Thursday.

The letters noted that “reliable intelligence states that the Rwandan government poses an imminent threat to your life” and said that, while the police could not be certain of the threat, they saw no reason to doubt the source of the information.

Human rights groups have criticised Rwanda for its treatment of opposition groups.

The US-based Human Rights Watch organisation has noted that in the build-up to elections in 2010 there was “persistent harassment and intimidation” of opposition parties.

Last June, a former Rwandan army chief, lieutenant-general Kayumba Nyamwasa, was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he lives in exile after falling out with the government.

Rwanda, which denies any involvement in the attack, had linked Nyamwasa to three grenade blasts in Kigali, the capital, which killed one person and injured at least 30 others.

Source: Al Jazeera