Still no sign of SA man who went missing in Rwanda seven months ago
The family of 60-year-old Leon Orsmond, who went missing in February, are losing hope of ever seeing him again.
Leon’s been living in Rwanda for the past eight years, his stepdaughter, Chelsey Orsmond (31) tells YOU.
"He moved there in 2010 when he got a contract to work there for a few months and he fell in love with the country, the food and the people. He’s been living there permanently ever since," she says.
Leon worked as a freelancer in advertising, especially digital marketing, to earn a living. Last year he helped presidential candidate Diane Rwigara with her social media campaign.
Threats over social media posts
Diane also went missing but it was later announced that she’d been arrested on fraud charges. Leon often took to social media to criticise her arrest as well as the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame.
His family believe his disappearance to be linked to this public criticism.
"We often spoke to him. He was last active online on 16 February. That’s when we think he went missing. I spoke to him two days before that," Chelsey says.
Though she says her dad didn’t sound worried or afraid when they last spoke, he’d mentioned in a previous conversation that he’d received threats because of his social media posts.
"The Rwandan government says they don’t know where my father is and that he’d gone to Burundi. But we hired a private investigator who says everything indicates that my dad is still in Rwanda," she says.
The family hadn’t seen Leon in the eight years he’s been away and were scheduled to visit him soon.
Now, Chelsey says, they just want answers. "We’re realistic. We know a lot of time has passed. We want to know what happened and for justice to prevail. We need closure."
She adds the department of international relations and cooperation also hasn’t been able to establish where her father is. "They’re getting the same answers we did from the Rwandan government."
Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson for the department, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Relations between Rwanda and South Africa have been strained since 2014, when South Africa accused Rwanda of ordering the assassination of a Rwandan opposition leader who was in South Africa at the time.
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