By Jackson Mutabazi
Uganda’s security agencies have continued to target Rwandan nationals in the country, subjecting them to illegal arrests and detention. The latest Rwandans to suffer this victimization are five, including some church workers.
Ntakirutimana Theoneste, head of the ADEPR Church in Uganda was abducted yesterday, 28 March 2019 in Kampala by security operatives. News reaching our desk is that it was the usual CMI method of extra-legal arrest: no arrest warrant; no other form of due process.
A week before, on 22 March 2019 the same had happened to Cyusa Jean Paul, another member of ADEPR in the Ugandan capital. This followed the abduction of a woman, Peace Lydia Mahoro on 18 March 2019. Another Rwandan that has not been spared is Karangwa Daniel who was kidnapped by Museveni’s security agencies on 26 March 2019 in Kiboga area. Also, on 19 March 2019 a man called Habimana Issa was taken away.
Those are five Rwandans abducted, kidnapped, or arrested with no due process in a space less than two weeks.
It is alleged that they have suffered this treatment on suspicion of “working for the interests of Rwanda”.
Their treatment bears the signature CMI modus operandi: just grab Banyarwanda, take them away, and hold them incommunicado. What normally happens to the victims, out of sight, is appalling torture. Each and every Rwandan that has been subjected to such extra-legal arrests comes out describing how they were tortured.
CMI operatives, usually about five to a single Rwandan civilian, surround him or her. They then usually shove the victim into a vehicle with dark-tinted glasses. After that they usually slap a hood – something like “a big hat” –over the victim’s head. They then drive away – the victim vulnerable and unaware of where they are headed – to one of the hundreds of un-gazetted places of detention, the so-called “safe houses”, run by CMI.
Or they are taken straight to CMI headquarters at Mbuya Military Barracks. Once in CMI custody torture ensues in the form of beatings, starvation, demeaning, degrading treatment like throwing on the floor food only fit for animals, for the victim to eat, and similar things.
A Rwandan businessman – Patrick Niyigena – that CMI tortured in October last year described how they subjected him to beatings in a safe house, for three days, including kicks that almost broke his ribs. Then, he said, they injected him with a substance that he suspected was a slow working poison. They dumped him in the streets of Kampala, but after stealing his US$ 2600.
Rwandan victims that are lucky to escape CMI’s dungeons at Mbuya describe a hell on earth. “CMI operatives are just terrible thugs with no drop of human decency in them,” said Damascene Muhawenimana, a Rwandan that was kidnapped by them in December last year.
“They beat people with electric wires, or with clubs. They confine people in dark, smelly dungeons, all the time with hoods over their heads so that their eyes will begin to lose sight. They beat even old men; ‘I saw one old man whose skin was peeling away because of the beatings!” narrated Damascene.
CMI accused him of “working for Rwandan interests”; that he was “a Rwandan spy”.
The facts are that Damascene had travelled with his mother from Rwanda to go to look for Bernard Kwizera, his younger brother.
Usually the Rwandans CMI, ISO and others abduct are never charged in court. They are never subjected to a transparent hearing so that their side of the story gets heard. They are just tortured, and if lucky to get out, just dumped in the road or at one of the border posts.
In most of these cases, CMI openly works with agents of RNC, the anti-Rwanda group headed by fugitive Kayumba Nyamwasa that is also responsible from grenade attacks that from 2010 to 2015 killed 17 Rwandans and injured over 400 others. According to reliable information RNC agents like Rugema Kayumba – who also is well known for his anti-Kigali smears on social media – in many cases also tell CMI which Rwandans to target or victimize.
Rugema in particular, together with another RNC agent called Mukombozi, were responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and crippling of Fidele Gatsinzi – a Rwandan citizen that only was in Uganda to visit his student son. Gatsinzi recognized Rugema and Mukombozi as RNC agents active on Facebook.
They, together with CMI tortured him accusing him of “spying for Rwanda”. They had no proof of that. Gatsinzi’s only crime was that he had come from Rwanda.