The Rwandan Military has arrested retired Lt Gen Karenzi Karake, a hugely influential and senior citizen who for decades cut a niche as the country’s finest intelligence officer.
The former director general of the National Intelligence and Security Services and a member of the country’s governing party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, is detained at a ‘safe’ house in the capital Kigali.
The Defence Ministry chose not to comment on this development when contacted by ChimpReports on Tuesday morning.
We are yet to establish the reason for Karake’s incarceration. What we know is he was arrested at the same time with the Managing Director of Kigali Heights, Mr Dennis Karera.
The two comrades are said to be under investigation for cases related to possible fraud.
Reports indicate Karera is suspected of inflating the construction cost of Kigali Heights which could have caused financial loss to the shareholders.
Associates of the retired army officers, who are now in private business, say they were yet to access them to listen to their side of the story or even establish the authenticity of the alleged crimes.
Reports that Karera and Karake had their conversation on the deteriorating Uganda-Rwanda relations eavesdropped by intelligence services were also being verified.
Karera and Karake, who have been friends since their time in the early days of the RPF struggle that brought President Paul Kagame to power, are said to have made discomforting remarks about Rwanda’s attitude towards Uganda.
In their alleged meeting, they reportedly said Uganda and Rwanda were so interconnected hence the need to maintain good bilateral relations.
This would explain why Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) said Karera was not in their custody.
“We do not have any info about it. He is not in our custody,” the RIB Spokesperson Modeste Mbabazi was quoted by Rwandan media as saying this past Thursday.
But well placed officials said Karera and Karake understand the strength of the country’s intelligence services and would therefore avoid remarks which would potentially land them in trouble.
This is the second time in a space of three years that Karake is being detained.
Karake was arrested in June 2015 at Heathrow Airport where the Metropolitan Police said he was wanted “on a European arrest warrant on behalf of the authorities in Spain.”
A Spanish national judge, Fernando Andreu had brought charges against Karake in 2008 on accusations that he took part in the genocide, as well as in killings that include those of three Spanish aid workers who died in 1997. Karake denies the charges as baseless.
The arrest prompted diplomatic and political protests in Rwanda before Karake was released by UK authorities on a $1m bond.
In Rwanda, Karake is a celebrated military commander who participated in the war that ended the 1994 genocide.
On return to Rwanda, Karake was eventually removed from the position of intelligence chief before being appointed Presidential Advisor on Defence and Security – a position he holds to date.
This is not the first time a high ranking army officer is being detained in Rwanda.
In 2012, President Paul Kagame ordered the detention of then External Security Services boss Col Dan Munyuza, Brig Richard Rutatina who was commanding military intelligence, Brig Wilson Gumisiriza and Reserve Force chief, Lt Gen Fred Ibingira.
The then Rwanda Army spokesperson Col. Joseph Nzabamwita said the generals were “under investigation for acts of Indiscipline with respect to getting involved in civilian business dealings in Democratic republic of Congo.”
While Karera retired as a Colonel after rising in ranks to become a Deputy Inspector General of Police, Karake recently ended his military career at the rank of Lieutenant General.