October 28, 2020
October 28, 2020

Kayumba Nyamwasa


Rwanda's former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa (L) holds the hand of his wife Rosette Kayumba as they sit at court in Johannesburg on June 21, 2012. Rwanda's former army chief told a South African court Thursday that he was shot two years ago for defying President Paul Kagame, as he testified in the trial of six men accused of attempting to kill him. "The reasons why I would think anyone would want me dead is that I have over the years defied the leadership, in particular President Kagame, on things that needed change," Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa told a Johannesburg court. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/GettyImages)

Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa (born 1962) is a Rwandan former Lieutenant general who formerly was the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army from 1998 to 2002. He was also head of Rwandan intelligence from 1998 to 2002[1] and served as Rwanda’s ambassador to India between 2004 and 2010.

Born in Rwanda, Nyamwasa grew up in refugee camps in Uganda and earned a law degree in Makerere University. He later joined Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army in January 1986 and served as a Ugandan military officer before 1990. He contributed to the creation of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in the late 1980s and was considered the central figure in the military during the RPF campaign and the post genocidal period, when he oversaw anti-insurgency campaigns in the country’s north-west.[2]

Nyamwasa fled to South Africa from India on 28 February 2010 and sought exile there.[1] The Rwandan government later stated that he may have been working with Colonel Patrick Karegeya, another former intelligence head who was living in exile in South Africa.[1] Nyamwasa is accused of involvement in acts of terrorism in Rwanda, including three grenade attacks in Kigali on 19 February 2010,[3] but was not arrested in South Africa due to a lack of extradition treaties between the two countries and evidence.

In June 2010, Brigadier General Jean Bosco Kazura, head of the Rwandese Association Football Federation, traveled to South Africa to see the World Cup and allegedly contacted Nyamwasa. Kazura was recalled and placed under arrest, although an army spokesman said this was purely because he had failed to obtain permission to travel.[4]

Nyamwasa was shot in the stomach in Johannesburg, South Africa on 19 June 2010.[3] Several people arrested after the shooting were found to be Rwandan. Kayumba was recorded to have said that Kagame wants him dead because he challenges his dictatorial views.[1] Nyamwasa’s wife stated that the attack was politically motivated. Al-Jazeera reported that “Rosette said they were in the parking lot of their home and a man came to the side of the car with a pistol and shot at her husband who managed to get out of the car and then there was a scuffle. The driver of the car then chased the assailant away.”

Jean-Léonard Rugambage, a Rwandan journalist who investigated the attempt on Nyamwasa’s life, was murdered a few days later in Kigali.[5][6]

In 2011, the Military High Court in Kigali condemned him along three others for terrorist acts, threat to state security and public order. He was stripped of his military rank, disgracefully removed from the army and sentenced to 24 years in prison. All four men were tried in absentia.

He was married to Rosette Nyamwasa.

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