By Alain Mucyo
Eight Rwandans, including four students at Kampala International University (KIU), have been dragged away by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
They were abducted by the military this week, Wednesday night, and are being detained at an undisclosed location. Neither their family members, nor the school, nor lawyers, and not even Rwanda’s High Commission to Uganda has been able to access them. Initially, family and school friends were told at Kabalagala Police Station that the group had been taken to the notorious Makindye Military Barracks.
However, when they went there, the army men said they do not have them.
Some of these students are people born in Uganda and have lived in the country all their lives. Their only crime is being of Rwandan origin. None of these young people – who include Joram Rwamwojo, the chairperson of the Association of Rwandan Students’ Community at KIU – are tied to any offence. The other students are identified as Living Kagaara, Emmanuel Namanya and Andrew Mugisha.
They are being held with four other Rwandans: Joan Mutesi, John Kamugisha and two individuals identified only as Kimenyi and Kakuru.
According to their colleagues, these students were picked up from their hostels by the CMI men who showed up with no arrest warrants. In an abduction style “arrest”, the CMI agents drove off with the Rwandans who, it is highly feared, will suffer the same fate as hundreds of other Rwandans over the past three years.
Authorities at the school say they were baffled that their students could be picked in the middle of exams with no warrant, or to at least show why they were being dragged away. “Our students missed their exams because of the arrest. We rang the DPC (District Police Commander), Kabalagala, who referred us to CMI saying that they are the ones with him,” said a school official that preferred not to be named.
Rwandans have suffered abductions and torture in different military or intelligence facilities or so-called “safe houses” across Uganda, with CMI being the principle perpetrator of injustices and human rights abuses against Rwandan nationals. There never are court processes in numerous such affairs.
The names of those abducted in similar ways are too many to enumerate here.
Some of them include Fidele Gatsinzi who in late 2017 was abducted in broad day light in Kampala by CMI operatives working with two agents of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC: Kayumba Rugema and one Mukombozi. The elderly Gatsinzi had travelled to Uganda to visit his son who was at the university there and the time he was picked, he was buying some groceries to take to his son. They tortured Gatsinzi so badly he ended up in a wheelchair. Gatsinzi was a victim of circumstances, falling prey to the Ugandan leadership’s plot to destabilize Rwanda, and partnering with RNC and other anti-Rwanda proxies in the goal.
Their plan includes abducting Rwandans with different goals in mind. They torture some in the hope of gleaning some information about Kigali. They torture others, especially the young and able-bodied, to coerce them into joining RNC as rebel fighters. Others suffer simply for refusing to work with RNC, or other anti-Rwanda groups in any way.
Detainees Rene Rutagungira, Emmanuel Rwamucyo, Augustin Rutayisire, Claudine and Darius Kayobera are only a few amongst the hundreds of Rwandans incarcerated in Uganda – with no trial, no family visits, no consular services.