JOHANNESBURG — Rwanda's former spy chief has been found dead, possibly strangled, in a hotel in South Africa, police said Thursday, and opposition leaders immediately accused President Paul Kagame of ordering his assassination.
The opposition coalition Rwandan National Congress said Patrick Karegeya, a former colonel and longtime Kagame ally in war who turned against him in peace, was found strangled in a room at Johannesburg's plush Michelangelo Towers hotel.
"He was found in the hotel room dead on the bed," said a statement from police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale. "A towel with blood and a rope were found in the hotel room safe. There is a possibility that he might have been strangled."
It said his body was found Wednesday. Congress coordinator Theogene Rudasingwa said in a telephone call from Washington that it is unclear whether Karegeya was killed Tuesday or Wednesday.
Rudasingwa said Karegeya had gone to the Johannesburg hotel to meet a Rwandan man who had posed as a friend of the opposition and who had registered into the hotel room in which Karegeya's body was found. The police statement said Karegeya had checked into the hotel in his own name.
Kagame's spokesman and Rwanda's foreign minister could not be reached by telephone and did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.