Rwandan Families Make Plea For Release of Relatives Top story

3839 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Claudette Ninsiima, the wife to Herbert Munyangaju presented the statement to journalists at Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala on behalf of the families flanked by their lawyers, Gawaya Tegule and Eron Kiiza.

The families of six Rwandan nationals being held in incommunicado by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence-CMI 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. 

Claudette Ninsiima, the wife to Herbert Munyangaju presented the statement to journalists at Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala on behalf of the families flanked by their lawyers, Gawaya Tegule and Eron Kiiza.

Ninsiima told journalists that her hubby, Herbert Munyangaju, a Rwandan citizen was picked up by armed men on December 20th, 2017 from a bar along Nyanama Road in Kampala. She says the officers also took her husband's maroon Mitsubishi GDI vehicle registration number UAR 110Q.

"It turned out that his arrest was one of several; for I later learnt that the day before, on the 19th of December, other Rwandan citizens were arrested from Mbarara," she said.

She explained that after several inquiries, it was established that the armed men were CMI operatives. Ninsiima says that her efforts to get information from CMI on the arrest of her husband since December 22nd 2017 haven't yielded results.

"I have never received a response. Our lawyers have written to the Ministry of Defence and to Military Intelligence, asking to be granted access to the detainees but to date this has been ignored. As family members we are concerned that our people have been against their will, detained, pursuant to an arrest irregular and unlawful in every sense of the word," Ninsiima said.

She appealed to government to respect and follow the laid down laws in regards to the detention of suspects.

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Eron Kiiza,  one of the lawyers to the detained Rwandan nationals, described the detention as illegal, saying they are to challenge the matter in court.

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He however, said they are not certain where the suspects are behind held since there is no due court process.

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Asked to explain his allegation that the Rwandan nationals are victims of the war between Tumukunde and Kayihura, Kiiza, said there is  a sworn statement by a Rwandan ex-soldier before the general court martial to that effect.

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Gawaya Tegule, also a lawyer of the detainees reminded government of its obligation under international law, which requires every state to protect each person within its borders.
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On Wednesday, Emilian Kayima, the Uganda Police Spokesperson confirmed the arrest of 45 Rwandan nationals at Nalufenya police facility in Jinja. 

He explained that the suspects were picked up at the border while traveling on forged documents and false identities. "Two suspects were subsequently arrested in Kampala," he said in a statement.  Adding that, "The suspects arrested in Kampala were some of their collaborators," said Kayima. Adding that, "Later, after questioning, police has found that they are culpable of more serious offenses than forgery including terrorism."

Kayima explained that the investigation team has completed its work pending perusal and prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions. "The delay to appear before court has been to a large measure due to the festive season," he said. It is unclear whether these suspects are part of those being sought by their families.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.