By Patience Kirabo
Rwandan torture victim Drocelle Nyirarudodo, one who was hacked and brutalized with her daughter by Uganda’s security agents merely for being Rwandan, is planning to sue the Ugandan Government in the East African Court of Justice. It is the aftermath of the inhuman treatment she suffered in Uganda, December last year that has prompted her decision to seek legal action.
The 40-year-old mother and her daughter Aimerance Uwimana 14, were mercilessly tortured for alleged “illegal stay” in Uganda. They were both on their way returning to Rwanda after a short visit to their relatives in Kisoro District. Nyirarudodo was beaten, hacked in the head, face, back and her daughter was beaten and stomped on, and were both dumped and left to die at the border.
The inhuman treatment and violent actions left Nyirarudodo with impaired health, blurry vision, persistent dizziness, and severe anxiety that she barely does much independently, hence her pursuit of a lawsuit. She has been struggling with her painful condition but thankfully Rwandan authorities have been on hand to help.
The government has helped in her medical needs together with her daughter. “My daughter’s health was deteriorating and I had no means to help her. If it were not for the government’s swift medical aid, care, and treatment, I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. Thankfully for her and family, her physical wounds are all healed and her head is stitched up perfectly as a result of the medical care for which she never was charged.
But she has psychological scars. “I can’t think of Uganda without having nightmares,” she reveals.
Also, though physically she looks healed, she laments that she is far from the healthy and hardworking mother she used to be. “I can barely stay home without having someone watch over me and for that, I believe those violent security officers in Kisoro must be held to account.”
Nyirarudodo is the latest victim to demand the Ugandan government to assume responsibility for the barbaric acts inflicted on her. Her case will follow that of nine Rwandans who sued the Uganda government in the EACJ for their illegal detention, torture, and abuse at the hands of the security agents of Uganda. A few of the victims have since died and their families have vowed to pursue their case in the quest for their relative’s deserved justice.
There is the case of Felicien Mbonabaheka who was hacked to death in cold blood by a machete welding gang and hurriedly buried by police in Kisoro District January this year. A sign that Uganda endorsed victimization of Rwandan nationals by hunting them down, unleashing their wrath on them, and murdering them just because of their nationality.
Harassment by Ugandan security forces targeting Rwandan nationals has often taken the form of arbitrary arrests of abductions with accusations either of “espionage”, or “illegal weapons possession”, “illegal entry”, and others like that. Following such abductions, the victims have most often been subjected to illegal detention, being held incommunicado, and sustaining physical abuse and torture.