By Patience Kirabo
Last Sunday, 31 October, Rwandan national David Habineza, 26, was brutally assaulted by armed men in Uganda and later dumped at the Rwandan border. Habineza was nearly breathing his last.
The incident took place in the Ntungamo District of western Uganda, and the assailants, who beat Habineza almost to a pulp, brought him in an unconscious state and threw him near the border, leaving him for dead.
Security authorities on the Rwandan side of the border found him nearly dead, with deep bruises and torture marks all over his body, and took him to the nearby Ntoma Health Center for emergency care.
The grievous assault of Habineza is the latest in a spat of increased harassments, persecution, and torturing of Rwandans by Ugandan security forces. Rwandans in thousands have suffered abuse simply because of their nationality. However, the violent cases have escalated this year with ever more innocent Rwandans sufferingbrutal beatings. One was even burnt to death.
Speaking from his sickbed where he is currently under intensive medical care in Rwanda, Habineza says that he had studied, lived, and worked in the Nakasongola District of Uganda for years without any problem. However, on the fateful nightof his assault, while returning from work several armed men followed him, stopped him, and proceeded to beat him.
“I woke up in a medical facility bed and was told that border security authorities and well-wishers found me and helped me get emergency medical care. But the last thing I remember in Uganda was when I was being beaten by these men with guns,” Habineza narrates in a faint voice.
He goes on to say that Rwandans in Uganda currently live in fear for their lives. “There is too much hatred for Banyarwanda and it is mostly among security personnel,” he said.“It appears they have orders to hunt down Rwandans irrespective of whether you have done nothing wrong,” he adds.
In June this year, another Rwandan man, Bazambanza Munyemana was gruesomely killed in Uganda and his body was retrieved at the environs of the Uganda-Rwanda border, dumped by his assailants who had beaten and burnt him to death.
It is common knowledge that security officials in Uganda, especially the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) harass, arbitrarily arrest, and torture Rwandans, with utmost impunity.
The persecution of Rwandan nationals in Uganda has become a decentralized approach now, where any security official or ordinary Uganda who feels empowered to do so can mistreat or even kill any Rwandan national.