By Patience Kirabo
Nine members of the RUD-Urunana terror group who recently were repatriated among 132 innocent Rwandans have revealed more about the nature of their operations, and the bigger role of Ugandan officials – specifically Philemon Mateke, the Minister of State for Regional Cooperation.
It remains to be revealed what exactly Kampala’s calculation was in disguising the terrorists among innocent Rwandans repatriated following their release from illegal detention in various prisons and dungeons in the neighboring country.
The nine terrorists were included in the Rwandans deported last month without informing the Rwandan authorities, as the latter have disclosed.
Since then, the men have revealed more details of RUD-Urunana’s military structure, areas of operation, support networks and supplies, as well as recruitment networks. The group has been receiving a lot of help from Ugandan intelligence networks to undermine Rwanda’s security. That already is a well-known fact.
Also it has long been public knowledge that Philemon Mateke is the overall unifying factor, coordinating subversive forces that seek to destabilize Rwanda. The terrorists have said that.
Gavana, who led the Kinigi attack in Musanze District that killed 14 people and injured 18 in October last year is the leader of 66 rebel fighters grouped into five units. They have been deployed at Nyabanira in DRC, which extends to parts of Kiwanja. The rest of the units also operate in South Eastern DRC. Leadership of the group crosses regularly into Uganda where Mateke hosts them, and facilitates their movements.
RUD-Urunana recruits mainly from Rwandan youth in Ugandan refugee camps, they revealed. Recruitment is conducted by individuals facilitated by Ugandan intelligence agencies. The recruiters of RUD-Urunana include: Rukundo Patrick, a motorcycle operator in Uganda’s Kisoro District; Kazungu and Ntaganda who recruit from Kyaka II Refugee Settlement; Bosco and Francis Niyigena in Mubende District and Rubare; Juma Masabi in Munyonyo in Kampala; and Suleiman Muntari in Bunyoro region to mention a few.
The recruits are lured “with false promises”, or are forced into joining the terror group. Before the situation recently turned deadly for illegal armed groups in eastern DRC, the recruiters were sending the young men or women into training camps in DRC.
RUD-Urunana, just like RNC and others, gets financial support from security organs of Uganda, the terrorists have disclosed, confirming what already is well known. The Uganda army, UPDF, facilitates them with guns, ammunition, and other supplies, the terror suspects have confirmed.
With the recruits for the most part originating from Uganda where the country’s intelligence agencies have been heavily involved, those who refuse recruitment are subjected to arbitrary arrest and torture. Those that escape from the group are tracked down by Ugandan security and coerced to return. The most involved is the UPDF Second Division, Mbarara, under the operations of Maj. Mushambo, the army’s head of counterintelligence.
Additionally, RUD-Urunana has recruited women along the border areas with Uganda, to participate in “rescue mission operations.”
Rwanda has demanded that Uganda extradite members of RUD-Urunana, including Gavana and Eric Mugwaneza, among those who managed to escape to Uganda after the attack in Kinigi. They still are under the protection of Philemon Mateke, and the UPDF. Uganda has not heeded Rwanda’s demands, even though Kampala is obliged to do so by resolutions of the quadripartite meetings on implementation of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding.