By Patience Kirabo
John Sebudirimba, the 60-year-old Ugandan national that was brutally assaulted by soldiers of the Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) because they thought he was Rwandan, was over the weekend returned to his home town of Kisoro. He himself said he had suffered beatings by his country’s own soldiers.
The Ugandan, who on the night of December 11 was cornered and beaten to near-death together with a Rwandan, Emmanuel Maniragaba, both managed to escape from the soldiers, “by the mercy of God”. They fled to the Rwandan side of the border where they received emergency medical treatment. Afterwards Sebudirimba was handed over to his family following a two-days hospitalization and good care.
The Ugandan was handed over, on Saturday 14 December by the Cyanika Sector Executive Secretary, Omar Wilson Mwambutsa, at noon. Sebudirimba was received by his family members who comprised of his wife Justine Nyirabagenzi and six other relatives.
Sebudirimba was full of praises for the Rwandans for the humane treatment, which he said he wasn’t expecting.
The family of Sebudirimba expressed how much they appreciated how he was helped and treated by Rwandans even when he was in no condition to speak of what had happened to him due to the excruciating pain he was going through.
Rwandan border security agents transported him to Cyanika Heath Centre for assistance and after recovery, he revealed that he was a Ugandan, and was able to explain how he was assaulted by UPDF Soldiers in Kisoro mistaking him to be a Munyarwanda.
He appreciates how he was treated to recovery as a human without discrimination of his nationality. When he recovered his family was invited to come to receive him as he returned.
Sebudirimba’s case, though different in nature, is akin to that of Sebuzuru Emmanuel, the Horizon company bus manager who back in May taken in for questioning concerning a large sum of money he was carrying. After a time Sebuzuru himself described as “professional and courteous questioning”, he was told he was free to go back home.
“I was treated as a diplomat because nobody harmed me or took away any of my belongings,” Sebuzuru told Ugandan media. Rwandan authorities transported him in the comfort of a double cabin pickup and handed him over to Ugandan authorities.
Ugandan security forces in the Kisoro region recently seem to have declared open season on all Rwandan nationals living in Kisoro. They have recently been launching operations to round up any Rwandan they can find, with the usual concocted allegations of “illegal entry”, and “illegal stay” in Uganda. As usual there is no due process, to ascertain whether a single one of these accusations is true.