By Patience Kirabo
Prince Twambazimana 22 and Muhire Jean Baptiste 32, are the latest dumping victims by Ugandan authorities. They were dumped at the Cyanika Border Post a few days ago following a period of torture and physical abuse while in illegal detention in Kisoro Prison.
Twambazimana was dumped last Sunday after fifteen long months of illegal incarceration that was characterized by inhuman torture and forced labor. He went to Uganda through Cyanika Immigration and Emigration office on May 09, 2018. He was arrested the same day in Kisoro on accusations of “illegal entry”.
He says he showed his travel documents, and the stamped travel pass but the security operatives would hear none of his explanations. His travel documents and Identity card were confiscated before they threw him into a detention. He was told through no legal process that he was to spend twenty-three months’ in prison.
Twambazimana never went to any courts of law to be charged. Neither did they accord him an opportunity to defend himself. Since his arbitrary arrest, he was transferred from one prison to another; from Ndorwa, to Kisoro, Ibanda and finally Kiburara where he finished his time in Ugandan detention.
He describes how he was subjected to forced labor, digging in Kisoro plantations daily, just like the very many other similarly imprisoned Rwandans. Everyday food was the horrible smelling kawunga and weevil-infested beans. Beatings were a daily occurrence. Twambazimana reveals he has a few broken ribs from the torture.
Due to a lack of medical care, he was almost rotting on the inside, he says. He narrates that even after knowing about his deteriorating health, security authorities continued forcing him to perform hard labor on the farms. “One particular evening I was carried back to prison by fellow detainees because I could not move anymore!” he says.
He spent a few days in an isolated cell until he was dumped at the Cyanika Border in the wee hours of Sunday (Ist September). He shows the scars from the torture he suffered and discloses he now has hearing difficulties. He is very worried for those he has left behind.
“There are about one hundred and eighty Rwandan nationals in Kiburara Prison, and the things happening to them are hard to describe,” he said.
In the same prison was Muhire Jean Baptiste, who also has been lucky enough for the Ugandan authorities to dump him at the border. Muhire says his back hurts badly due to lifting huge logs of trees and other kinds of hard labor in Kisoro. He says he went to Uganda legally.
“I was in Uganda for studies as a technician, in 2017 when they arrested me on 10 October 2018,” said Muhire. He narrated that his misfortune took place in Kisoro while on his way back to Rwanda. Ugandan security authorities forced him out of the Trinity Bus in which he was, together with other Rwandan nationals. They took them to a police vehicle that sped off to Kisoro Police. They locked them up there for a few days, then took them to prison.
“Anyone that failed to pay a bribe of 500,000 (Ugandan shillings) to be releases was jailed!” said Muhire. Their ordeal worsened when prison authorities began to deploy them in maize and other crops farms. The torture usually takes the same patterns: beatings, forced labor, very poor feeding – in that order.
Muhire luckily caught a break when he was made the supervisor of fellow detainees, but he narrates the abuse and tortures his compatriots were inflicted was so cruel. A one Nshimiyimana Valens was beaten almost to death. Muhire ended his sentence in that devil’s prison (as he calls it) without ever seeing Nshimiyimana again.
“I am determined to take the initiative to go to all radio stations and warn all Rwandans not to cross to Uganda, if that is what it takes for them to understand the inhuman way they will be treated should they end up in those prisons!” Muhire exclaimed.