Details emerge how Rwandan businessman Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa died in Dubai

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 7 May 2024 at 10:32

The late Rwandan business mogul, Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, succumbed to a heart attack at his home in Dubai, it has emerged.

Media reports indicate that the 82-year-old passed away in his living room while watching a movie with his grandchildren on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, as heavy rains pounded the United Arab Emirates, leading to flash floods in the desert region.

A close associate intimated to the media that on the day the chairman of Pan African Tobacco met his death, he had woken up as usual to go about his work, but he seemed concerned about the harsh weather.

He is quoted to have told his friends that he had not seen such heavy winds and storms in the UAE in the last decade.

“Nevertheless, the chairman worked throughout the day,” a close associate of the billionaire intimated.

While the octogenarian appeared to be physically okay, the associate noted, he was emotionally weak, as he was yet to fully recover from the death of his wife.

Despite the harsh weather, Ayabatwa is said to have insisted on going swimming as part of his routine cardiovascular exercise.

“The weather is really bad,” a family member told Ayabatwa, “Let’s wait for the weather to clear.”

The family managed to convince him to stay indoors at least until the weather improved. To pass time, he suggested watching TV.

A few moments later, he asked one of his grandchildren to get him a remote control. That was the last time they heard his voice as shortly after he became unresponsive.

The distraught kids rushed to inform their parents about what had happened. The parents called for emergency health services, and the old man was confirmed dead.

A postmortem conducted at one of the hospitals in Dubai confirmed that the billionaire had died of a heart attack.

Rujugiro was born in Rwanda around 1941 and started his vast tobacco business in 1978 in Burundi, where he was a refugee.

He had business interests in several other countries including Angola, DR Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Rujugiro was last in Rwanda in 2010, after which it was revealed that he fled to South Africa, a country where he had been running business.

This move came following discoveries that he was allegedly involved in tax evasion and had connections with subversive groups aiming to destabilize Rwanda’s security, whom he also supported financially.

The late Rwandan industrialist Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa succumbed to a heart attack at his living room in Dubai on April 16.