KIGALI (Reuters) - South Africa has recalled its ambassador to Rwanda “for consultations” after the two countries’ relations soured over the shooting of a dissident Rwandan general in Johannesburg, South Africa’s state news agency said.
General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, fled his homeland in February and was shot in the stomach in June.
South African police have arrested five people over the attack but have not revealed their nationalities.
South African Foreign Ministry Director General Ayanda Ntsaluba said the recall of Ambassador Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso was not intended to break relations between the two African states.
“We have no intention of expelling the Rwanda ambassador,” Ntsaluba said on Thursday, quoted by the South African agency.
He had been recalled “for consultations over the issues in that country,” it said.
But analysts said the move may indicate a further deterioration of their relationship. Ties took a turn for the worse when media misquoted a South African official as blaming Rwanda for the attack, the agency said.
The Rwandan government has denied allegations it was involved in the shooting, branding them “preposterous”.
In July, Rwanda summoned Ambassador Gwadiso to express concern about the South African investigation.
“We are not making any connections by recalling our ambassador. We are also not making any connection between the government of Rwanda and the shooting of the general,” Ntsaluba said.
But Muzong Kodi, an associate fellow of the Africa programme at the Chatham House think-tank, said the move was significant because the two countries have been close allies in the past.
“It’s an indication of mounting tensions between the Rwandese and the South Africans over the attempted assassination,” Kodi told Reuters.