By Joan Karera
Ntamuturano Francois, 44, one of the six Rwandans who were deported and dumped at Kagitumba border post by Uganda’s officials on October 30, 2020, following the time he was brutally abducted, held incommunicado, and illegally detained in a torture dungeon is appalled at the behavior of Ugandan security agencies. He is also demanding justice as he undergoes treatment for his back that has been severely damaged due to the torture he suffered at the hands of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI.
Ntamuturano’s anguishbegan on Easter Day this year when he was abducted where he had gone for shopping in his neighbourhood in the town of Hoima in Uganda. “Two men came asking if I had pigs to sell, since everyone knew I was a successful farmer,” he narrates. He says the men then pushed him aside, where there were no people passing by, and proceeded to abduct him. To his shock they brutally forced his arms behind his back and fastened on handcuffs as he screamed for help.
Then the men, who were in civilian attire, told him whether he screamed or not, that wouldn’t help them.
Ntamuturano says it turned out that these people were CMI operatives “with UPDF identification.” They took him in a CMI trademark abduction: they did not produce any arrest warrants and they didn’t give him an opportunity to call a lawyer. They just slapped a hood over his head and drove him away. They first whisked him off to an unknown location in Kabale, which he only got to know when they took the hood off. It was smelly and scary, Ntamuturano says. “The first kicked me around, then went away.”
Afterwards the men took him to Mbuya Military Barracks, the headquarters of CMI, which also houses its notorious torture dungeons. There, many Rwandan nationals arrested and held incommunicado suffer the worst torture, according to information by many that have been there but were lucky to leave the place alive.
Shortly before taking him away (from Hoima) Ntamuturano says, “the men had called the person who deployed them and said ‘we have arrested the other Rwandan General!’”
Ntamuturano says he was very shocked to hear that. It was obviously something they had concocted to frame him, he is certain.
Ntamuturano had been living legally in Uganda since November 2014. He never did anything else other than his business as an investor in farming, and as a trader. Yet here were these CMI people framing him with accusations of espionage, claiming that he was sent to Uganda by President Kagame. “They threatened to kill me if I do not tell what Kagame sent me to Uganda to do, but I have never even been near him in my life.
“The only people in Rwanda I used to call from Uganda are my wife, my sister and my Godfather,” he adds.
When Ntamuturano refused to confess that he had been sent by Rwanda’s president “to spy on Uganda”, he was subjected to intense torture. “The man who was interrogating me first laid me down on the floor and continued to ask the same question, while stepping on me. When he saw that I wasn’t confessing what he wanted, he then cuffed my legs and hands together, bent me, put me in a sack and then hang me upside down from the ceiling. It was very painful!” he narrates, chocking up. “In that place, I suffered the worst days of my life!”.
According to him, he was abducted because he had refused to join Kayumba Nyamwasa’s terrorist RNC. Kampala-based RNC agents approached him twice asking him to join RNC and work for Kayumba Nyamwasa against the Rwandan government, “but I refused completely!”
He was finding out the hard truth about Uganda ever since the government of President Museveni adopted its policy of hostility against Rwanda. It is very unsafe in Uganda to be a Rwandan national that refuses to work to destabilize Rwanda. Many will suffer illegal arrests on concocted charges, followed by torture, and afterwards, loss of property.