Kagame assures Rwanda safe after grenade blasts

KIGALI Wed Mar 3, 2010 11:32am EST

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KIGALI (Reuters) - President Paul Kagame sought to reassure Rwandans Wednesday that the country was safe, two weeks after a triple grenade attack shook the capital Kigali.

Authorities blame the deadly blasts on a former chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who is reported to have fled to South Africa after questioning last week.

"They cannot ... destabilize the solid foundation we have already built of security and stability for our citizens," Kagame told reporters. "We have all it takes to prevent and act on any dangers to our country."

The central African country's chief prosecutor this week accused Kayumba of terrorism and threatening state security, and has begun proceedings to extradite the ex-army commander.

Kagame, a former rebel leader who fought alongside Kayumba to end the genocide in 1994, said the attacks were aimed at destroying Rwanda's image as a stable and secure destination.

Kagame is widely expected to secure a second seven-year term in a presidential election scheduled for August.

Chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga said Kayumba, who until last week had been serving as Rwandan ambassador to India, escaped into Uganda and Kenya and finally to South Africa via smuggling routes.

Kayumba met up with another renegade senior ex-soldier who is also accused of plotting the attacks.

"We are working with South African authorities to have these two apprehended and brought before courts of law to face charges," Ngoga said.

Kagame has rebuilt Rwanda since the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, and installed strong security measures in a country where killers and survivors continue to live side by side.

Three men have already been arrested in connection with the simultaneous grenade attacks which killed two people and left 30 people injured.

(Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Robin Pomeroy)

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