Uganda’s security organs have for months been harassing Rwandans in Uganda, torturing and deporting them.
This morning a Rwandan businessman who was deported from Uganda held a press conference in Kigali and shared his ordeal with members of the media.
Patrick Niyigena, a Rwandan businessman was picked up at a petrol station near Owino market in downtown Kampala on Monday evening October 8, by three armed men with walkie talkies and traveling in a black tinted vehicle.
They approached him, confiscated all his identifications and money (US$2400), took him to a safe house in Natete, tied him up, injected him with an unknown substance, and left him locked him in a dark room for three days, regularly torturing and interrogating him.
Niyigena showed reporters visible fresh wounds and told them that his ribs are in deep pain from the torture he underwent.
Here is the whole story as told by Niyigena himself
Niyigena boarded a bus on Monday morning, Oct 08 enroute to Nairobi where he was supposed to buy refrigerator spare parts that he would take back home to Kigali and sell them on retail.
Patrick Niyigena’a arm.
He made a stopover in Kampala to get some money from a friend and bring him some items from Nairobi. After meeting the friend at city garden in Kampala, Niyigena booked his bus ticket to Nairobi.
As he waited for boarding time, he took a walk around downtown. That’s when the two men approached him; they told him they were to ask him some questions. They bundled him into a black tinted pickup.
One of the men had a walkie talkie; the other had a pistol. Upon entering the vehicle, Niyigena realized that the driver was also armed. They drove him out of Kampala to the Natete suburb in a safe house.
Upon reaching there, they questioned him what he was in Uganda, what the government of Rwanda has sent him to do. They kept asking this question and Niyigena was convinced he had been a victim of mistaken identity. He kept telling them he has no links to the government but they would continue to beat him.
He told them he was in transit to Nairobi, only that he made a stopover to pick money from a friend who needed him to bring back some items from Nairobi.
Later that evening Niyigena was tied up, put into a tiny dark room on a cold floor and left there for the whole night.
The next day, more men showed up. They told him that they were going to inject him with “something that will keep you safe”.
Niyigena resisted. However, they forcefully injected him with the substance.
Immediately his entire body became weak; he was dehydrated and couldn’t move a single part of his body. This was also followed by the beatings and interrogations.
The arrest took place on Tuesday and was released on Friday. On Friday morning, a different person came, untied him and told him to go. Niyigena asked him for his identifications and money; but he was rudely told to disappear and go back to Rwanda.
Beaten down and weak, Niyigena found a group of motorcyclists and asked who amongst them knows where the Rwandan High Commission is located; one of them said he did and took him there. The embassy facilitated him to file a case at Old Kampala police station.
When Niyigena narrated his ordeal to the police officers, they simply responded that those are Kaka’s boys (Colonel Frank Kaka Bagyenda is Uganda’s Director General of the Internal Security Organisation- ISO).
The Rwanda High Commission also facilitated him to return back to Kigali.
While Niyigena is concerned about his lost business, he is most worried about the unknown substances injected in him.
He is appealing to the government of Rwanda to help him get proper medical treatment to prevent any harm to his health that may result from the injected substances.
Niyigena had been reading in papers incidents involving Rwandans in Uganda who are harassed, detained, and tortured; but he has always dismissed or minimized these stories. Until it happened to him.
Now he is pleading with fellow businessmen and women that not only are their businesses at risk but so are their lives. His advice to them is, “if they must continue doing business there, always walk in groups.”
As for his own life, “if government can get me the treatment to know what’s in my body, the rest I can start over.”