The co-ordinator of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) in South Africa, Seif Bamporiki, was shot and killed in Gugulethu on Sunday, February 21. The South African Police Service (SAPS) believe the motive for the killing was most likely robbery but Rwandan dissidents point out that Bomporiki’s death resembled previous political “assassinations”.
According to reports, the deceased owned a pawn shop in Phillipi and was delivering a bed to a client’s house in the Europa informal settlement when he was attacked at approximately 4.20pm.
SAPS spokesperson Colonel André Traut said a case of murder is under investigation. “It is alleged that the deceased and another male, aged 50, were doing a delivery of a bed in the area when they were approached by two unknown suspects,” said Traut.
“The deceased was pulled from his vehicle and shot, while the 50-year-old male who accompanied him managed to escape unharmed. The suspects, who are yet to be arrested, fled with the deceased’s vehicle.”
RNC spokesperson, Etienne Mutabazi told UK outlet the Guardian that the killing “was executed in a similar modus operandi of luring the victim in a compromising and insecure environment for assassination.”
Mutabazi said the client was looking for Bamporiki for quite some time and reportedly insisted that the deceased was the only person who could help him when he visited the shop on Saturday.
RNC legal adviser Kennedy Gihana said the client asked Bamporiki and his shop assistant, Bosco Twagirishema, to stop at a house because he wanted to collect money to pay for the bed, according to the Daily Maverick.
They waited for about 10 to 15 minutes and then the two assailants reportedly appeared from the direction the client had walked to. According to Gihana, one of the assailants walked past the vehicle before turning around and firing a shot into Bamporiki. He then proceeded to drag his body out of the vehicle and remove cash from his wallet before throwing it onto his body and driving off in the vehicle.
Twagirishema, who managed to escape on foot, said the client was South African but he could not be sure of the nationalities of the attackers because he did not hear them speak.
The RNC’s first deputy chairperson, General Kayumba Nyamwasa – who has survived four attempts on his life in South Africa – believes Bomporiki’s death was an assassination.
“All indications lead to that, the common modus operandi of leading people to unsafe or compromising environments, ie, Patrick, Rusesabagina etc. Robbers would have attacked his shop or him on the way home,” said Nyamwasa to the Daily Maverick.
In 2014, the former head of Rwanda’s external intelligence services who later became a staunch critic of the Kagame government exiling in South Africa, Patrick Karegeya was killed in a Johannesburg hotel after going there to meet a friend.
Five years later, the National Prosecution Authority issued warrants of arrest for two Rwandans accused of the murder. The investigating unit said in a written testimony that Karegeya’s murder and the numerous attacks on General Kayumba “were directly linked to the involvement of the Rwandan government,” according to Human Rights Watch.
Human rights groups have accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s government of taking aim at opponents in other countries through spyware attacks, kidnapping and assassination, according to The New York Times.