Rwandan Nationals Asked to Register Formal Complaints of Abduction, Arrests

2023 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The appeal comes in the wake of numerous allegations of kidnap, disappearance and arrest of Rwandan Nationals and asylum seekers within Ugandan territories.

 The Uganda Police Force has asked relatives and friends to arrested or missing Rwandan nationals to file reports and complaints with police. The appeal comes in the wake of numerous allegations of kidnap, disappearance and arrest of Rwandan Nationals and asylum seekers within Ugandan territories.

But Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima says most of these cases are heard in the media, with no formal records made at police stations in areas where the alleged kidnaps take place.

Kayima says that without any leads but media reports, police cannot do much. He says those that are arrested for criminal offences, shall not be treated on the basis of their status as Rwandan nationals, but for the offences, they commit.

"Government cannot be involved in let's say abduction. if it is there, let them present reports, we shall address their complaints appropriately," Kayima said.

His comments come as 45 Rwandan nationals, who were apprehended by Ugandan security agencies, are charged with three counts of terrorism, starting terrorism and forgery.

The suspects who were recently arrested from Kikagati border post in Isingiro district were being held at Nalufenya police facility in Jinja until yesterday when they were charged by the Chief Magistrates court in Mbarara, and remanded to Kyamugorani Prisons in Mbarara district. The 45 were remanded until January 15, 2018, whereafter they will appear before the court.

Addressing the press today, Police Spokesperson Emilian Kayima said that investigations indicate that the suspects are involved in terrorism activities and that more charges could be preferred as evidence is compiled.
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The suspects were apprehended in a bus trying to leave the country according to Kayima.

The families some of these Rwandan nationals have called for their immediate release. According to a statement issued by the families, those being held include Herbert Munyangaju, Freddy Turatsinze, Jessica Muhongerwa, Vanessa Gasaro, Dianne Kamikazi and Dianne Kamashazi.

Family members say some of their relatives were picked up while others were kidnapped. Kayima says however they cannot yet confirm if those being sought by the relatives are among the 45 arrested.

Kayima also stated that the suspects are not refugees but suspected criminals who should be duly prosecuted.

Over the years, Rwandan refugees and exiles in Uganda have raised concern about some of their relatives being targeted, abducted or killed by the Rwandan government agents.

Just in August this year, Rene Rutagungira, a retired Sergeant who fled Rwanda in 2004 over alleged persecution, was allegedly kidnapped in Kampala in August. Rutagungira was, however, brought to the General Court Martial in Makindye, on October 27, alongside senior police officers on charges of kidnap.

Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former guard to President Paul Kagame, was also allegedly kidnapped and controversially extradited to Kigali, and yet he was under the UNHCR protection.

 UNHCR indicates that Uganda hosts some 15,853 Rwandan refugees.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.