By Patience Kirabo
Yet another Rwandan national has been murdered in brutal circumstances in Uganda. Felicien Mbonabaheka was attacked and hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang in the night of 31 December 2019, in Kisoro where the Rwandan national did business in interior décor.
And as if to add insult to injury Uganda Police in Kisoro hurriedly buried him, in a hush-hush conditions. The police did not inform the deceased’s family or any relative. There were no investigation or inquiries into Mbonabaheka’s death, and neither was there an autopsy report.
It is reported that his burial was only attended by policemen who brought the body, and the undertakers at the Kisoro Cemetery.
Information emerged later after Mbonabaheka’s burial that his death was in fact a case of mistaken identity. Mbonabaheka’s killers were targeting another Rwandan by the names of Bayavuge Denys Bwenge. The latter was Mbonabaheka’s neighbor.
Mbonabaheka is another Rwandan life lost in Uganda following countless others. There was the case of Janvier Nsanzimana, 21, who in late July last year succumbed to injuries inflicted by assailants that attacked him and his elder brother Jean d’Amour Rwabayeho in Kyenjojo District in Western Uganda.
Rwabayeho barely escaped the assailants; however, Nsanzimana was cut down with a machete and died on the spot. Such is the impunity Ugandan authorities still feel they can treat Rwandans with. The Luanda Memorandum of Understanding signed last year in August in part was meant to forestall brutal, criminal mistreatment by authorities in Uganda.
But – as has come to characterize Ugandan security authorities acts against Rwandan nationals as Museveni adopted a more blatantly open partnership with groups bent on destabilizing Rwanda – nothing is changing. With acts like the killing of Mbonabaheka and others; the mass roundups of Rwandan civilians in places like Kisoro; or the continued brutal dumping of Rwandan citizens straight from illegal detention, Uganda shows only contempt for the MoU.
Now a question that’s vexing observers is: why did Uganda Police feel the urge to quickly bury Mbonabaheka without informing his family, the Rwandan diplomatic mission in Kampala? Why did they not conduct an investigation?
In the past three years CMI has mounted a campaign of persecution, harassment and torture of Rwandan citizens working hand in hand with RNC agents that work directly with them. Dismantling groups plotting to export violent conflict to Rwanda is one of the things Uganda was committed to under the MoU. Nothing like that has happened.
CMI, though it is the ringleader, has been closely emulated by ISO and other Ugandan security organs.
Recently on New Year’s eve ISO abducted two Rwandans on trumped up allegations that “they were planning terrorist attacks on hotels”, and locked them up in a safe house in Kyengera. ISO claimed it had tracked the two Rwandans to a bus park where “they sent a large sum of money to criminal elements”.
That was a lie because according to family members, one of the Rwandans only was coming from his embassy in Kampala to secure paperwork for his children. The other was nowhere near the bus terminal.
The persecution of Rwandans in Uganda has recently even gone domestic. One Musinguzi, the husband of a Rwandan Nyiramwiza Pascaline attempted to murder her, and ended up cutting off her right hand. Musinguzi said killing her was like killing any other Banyarwanda in Uganda! It was as if the state had advertised permission to kill anyone just because of being a Rwandan.
The Uganda regime also has done little to discourage anti-Rwandan hooliganism. Over the past year for instance Rwandan buses traveling from Uganda have been stoned, injuring passengers.
Victims of illegal incarceration have been dumped at border posts with nothing after they are robbed of all their belongings and emptied their pockets dry.
To protect her citizens Rwanda issued a strong advisory warning Rwandans against travel to Uganda.
Now those Rwandans already resident in Uganda are suffering the brunt of the brutality, like Mbonabaheka.