Deported 20 give testimony of some of the most harrowing torture of Rwandans to date, by Ugandan military intelligence
By Jackson Mutabazi
The stories of the 20 Rwandans that Uganda deported on Wednesday this week are particularly hair-raising, even when one is used to the testimonies of victims of torture by Uganda’s security agencies.
Operatives of CMI, Ugandan military intelligence, attempted to cut off the penis of one of the deported men, Jean de Dieu Singirankabo – a pastor with the Uganda mission of the ADEPR Church. That happened during a torture session just a few days ago in the dungeons of CMI’s headquarters at Mbuya Military Barracks, the pastor disclosed.
Rwandan victims of CMI have described suffering Taliban-style water boarding, emersion in ice water, electric shock, and beatings in the agency’s dungeons and “safe houses”. This is the first time this website has interviewed anyone whose manhood they tried to hack off. Singirankabo is taking strong painkillers. He is in great pain. He currently is hospitalized. They tortured him saying ADEPR – whose headquarters is in Rwanda – is “full of Rwandan spies”.
Pastor Singirankabo says he told the CMI people he, and his fellow pastors and churchgoers are only doing the Lord’s work, nothing else. But the CMI people were only intent on torture. When they arrested him – the usual lawless abduction by which they take Rwandans – they showed him no evidence of the alleged spying. “Our only crime is that we are Rwandans,” said the pastor.
This desperation of CMI who ‘smell Rwandan spies everywhere’, to the extent they are doing things as inhuman as what they did to Singirankabo has left many asking themselves: what is the true source of Kampala’s fears?
“This obsession of Uganda’s CMI with “Rwandan spies” is far beyond what would be normal precautions of a state against spying,” said an analyst. “It is the clearest indication that the Museveni regime is truly scared something really serious could be discovered!” he deducted.
Evidence is everywhere that Kampala is the main sponsor of the RNC terror group of fugitive Kayumba Nyamwasa.
There are the 46 individuals that were intercepted at Kikagati en-route to DRC in December 2017. They were travelling on forged papers. When interrogated they confessed they were recruits of RNC, headed to training camps in DRC that it was CMI that recruited them and provided the forged papers. The UN Group of Exerts Report on DRC, released in December 2018, heavily implicated Uganda in identical recruitment activities for the so-called “P5” anti-Rwanda rebel groups.
In Kampala, when RNC bigwigs arrive they are accorded treatment like visiting dignitaries, according to eyewitnesses. RNC Chief financier Tribert Rujugiro is assigned protocol almost similar to a head of state. When in Kampala he has teams of security flanking him everywhere, and moves around in convoys. Rujugiro has set up a tobacco-processing plant in Arua – Salem Saleh is a 15 percent shareholder – that only is a front for RNC operations in Uganda.
“Rujugiro is a well known tax-dodging fraudster – he was arrested by UK Police and had a bracelet fastened on his leg – yet he is doing business in Uganda, why?” asked a Kampala-based financial journalist that requested anonymity to speak freely.
In 2007 South Africa issued an arrest warrant for the RNC chief financier when he defrauded the government of US$ 7 million, leading to the arrest in UK. “That alone is clear evidence that the things Museveni’s people have been saying, that Rujugiro is a good investor, supporting Arua farmers and benefitting the Ugandan economy are lies to cover up something really fishy,” added the journalist.
There can no longer be any doubt of Uganda’s backing of RNC, going by all the evidence, not least the lavish space Ugandan state media gives RNC leaders to air their propaganda; the “accidental” meetings in State House and the like. Observers say the only question now is, what else is Kampala so fearful will be discovered?
Educated speculation is that RNC and FDLR have training camps in Uganda itself. “It is quite possible they are training for their planned war against Rwanda perhaps even in places in Kampala itself!” some say. That is why they have stepped up the arrests of innocent Rwandans, and the torture has become more draconian.
“When they took us to Mbuya they threw hoods over our heads and beat us. At Mbuya there were very many Rwandans there, naked and on the floors,” said Singirankabo. “Others were in the basement from where we would hear crying.”
He says that amongst their torturers were people that spoke fluent Kinyarwanda. It was while there that one of the operatives took a knife and did the inhuman thing to him.
CMI’s torture of Rwandans has a recognizable pattern now. Operatives in groups of four or five approach a Rwandan. They ask him who he is, and before he knows what is going on, they have surrounded him and pushed him into a vehicle. Once inside they shove a hood over one’s head so that he or she won’t know where they are going.
But before they set off they first search the victim’s pockets or bags, immediately pocketing any money they find. They go through one’s phone, ask him for the mobile money pin number, and carry out a transaction to withdraw all the money on it. Then they drive off with the hooded, handcuffed victim. Torture of all kinds goes on at CMI: beatings, shock with electric wires, emersion in ice cold water, and starvation. Now cutting off body parts has been added to the list.
Hategekimana Silas one of the deported 20 said one of the biggest problem for innocent Rwandans is posed by RNC agents that work with CMI. They are establishing a policy that the only safe Rwandan in Uganda is the one that says bad things about Rwanda. “There is a terrible evil going on in Uganda that only God can stop!” said Hategekimana. “How can a country allow some few people like that to cause such hatred in people,” asked the middle-aged man who breaks down in tears when he thinks of what he has seen.
He said one of the main reasons Ugandan security agencies torture Rwandans is to force them to join the army of Nyamwasa. “If you refuse to do that you are in serious trouble. They will be beating you with electric wires!” But, he added, “I would rather die than join that evil group!”
Silas says they abducted him from Entebbe. “They arrested me illegally,” he says. But, he added that he believes the Rwandan government’s outspokenness on the matter helped a lot in getting them released, “because the government has been speaking out a lot.”
Hategekimana disclosed that even people that joined RNC or FDLR are deserting and coming back to Uganda. Unfortunately for them, some were abducted and taken to CMI detention. “I spoke with some of them in the dungeons,” says Silas. “They said it is better to do everything to desert RNC because there is nothing good in war without a cause. They would rather die escaping!”
But CMI, working with RNC agents, have stepped up their recruitment-by-abduction strategy. Hategekimana disclosed that Ugandan agents have been abducting hundreds of young Rwandans from universities all over Kampala and elsewhere. They have abducted many and brought them to CMI with accusations of “spying”, added the pastor.
“These illegal detentions, mistreatment and deportations are the reason the Government of Rwanda advised its citizens not to travel to Uganda,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe, Minister of State in Charge of the East African Community. “We continue to call on Uganda to halt all collaboration with terrorist groups hostile to Rwanda including RNC, and instead use lawful means to bring to justice any Rwandan that may be suspected of breaking the law,” added the minister.
Hundreds of Rwandans still languish in Ugandan prisons, never having stood trial, or had a chance to defend themselves in any way.