A South African court has sentenced four men to eight years in prison for trying to murder Rwanda’s former army chief Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.
He was shot in the stomach in Johannesburg in June 2010, soon after he fled Rwanda after falling out with President Paul Kagame.
The magistrate said the “main culprits” had not been arrested.
Several attacks on Rwandan exiles in South Africa have caused diplomatic tensions between Pretoria and Kigali.
The Rwandan government has consistently denied trying to kill its opponents in South Africa.
The prosecution had demanded a 15-year jail sentence for the two Rwandans, Amani Uriwane and Sady Abdou, and two Tanzanians, Hassan Mohammedi Nduli and Hemedi Dendengo Sefu, convicted of the attempted murder.
Sentencing them to eight years each, Magistrate Stanley Mkhari said he took into account that the men had been in custody since the shooting.
“You are not the main culprits in this matter. It is my view that you are supposed to appear before me with all the people who made money available and also the people who paid to commit the offences,” he is quoted as saying.
Two other men had been acquitted of the shooting last month.
Gen Nyamwasa said he was happy with the sentences, but he remained concerned about the safety of Rwandan exiles, Reuters news agency reports.
“There is fear for the lives of very many Rwandans, those that have taken asylum here in South Africa, those that have taken asylum in many other parts of the world, and even more, those that have remained in the country,” he is quoted as saying.
Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa
- 1994: Helped bring Paul Kagame to power and end genocide
- 1998: Appointed army chief of staff
- 2006: French judge accuses him of shooting down plane of Rwanda’s ex-President Habyarimana in 1994, which sparked the genocide
- 2008: Spain accuses him of links to death of Spanish nuns
- Feb 2010: Leaves post as ambassador to India, flees to South Africa
- Accused of links to grenade attacks in Kigali
- June 2010: Shot and wounded in Johannesburg
- January 2011: Sentenced in absentia to 24 years by a military court
In January, Rwanda’s former spy chief Patrick Karegeya was killed in mysterious circumstances in an upmarket hotel in Johannesburg.
About two months later, gunmen broke into Gen Nyamwasa’s home in the city, but he was not there.
After the incident, South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats and warned Mr Kagame’s government that “our country will not be used as a springboard to do illegal activities”.