Thursday, May 19, 2022

Seven Rwandans deported from Uganda, narrate torture ordeal

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Seven Rwandans, including a one-year-old baby, were on Wednesday, February 3, deported from Uganda through the Kagitumba One-Stop Border Post, Nyagatare District.

Among them there was a 36-year old woman, Diane Ngoga Nzamukosha, who arrived in critical condition after enduring what she described as gruesome torture at the hands of Ugandan security services.

On arrival, the deportees were tested for Covid-19 and were all found negative.

The individuals accused Uganda of illegally detaining them, on the basis of fabricated accusations that they were spies of the Rwandan government.

“I was arrested in October last year when I was coming back home to Rwanda, and they accused me and my wife of being spies sent by the Rwandan government to harm Uganda,” said 27-year-old Fidel Nzayisenga, who had travelled to Uganda in 2018 to visit his sister.

He was travelling back home with his wife when the two were intercepted by Ugandan security operatives.

He said that he was “beaten by Ugandan soldiers many times,” adding that “there are many other Rwandans who are still languishing in Uganda’s detention centres.”

Nzayisenga said he was imprisoned in the notorious Mbuya military barracks in the capital Kampala, while his wife was taken to Kireka in central Uganda.

Mbuya also serves as the headquarters of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence that has been severally cited in hallowing tales of torture meted out on hundreds of Rwandans arrested on similar accusations.

Augustin Ndagijimana, another deportee, also narrated his own ordeal. “They would severely beat us in the night,” he said, showing scars on different parts of his body, which he said were from torture.

“My advice to any Rwandan planning to go to Uganda is to not do so because they would be putting their lives at risk,” he said.

It is not the first time Rwandans are deported or illegally dumped at the border by Uganda, many of them narrating tales of torture. In June last year, 79 Rwandans were handed over to Rwanda.

Illegal detentions of Rwandan nationals in Uganda is one of the issues at the heart of strained relations between the two neighbours; others being Kampala’s alleged support to anti-Kigali militia groups and economic sabotage.

The two governments have since held a series of high-profile meetings, including at the Heads of State level, under the facilitation of Angola and DR Congo, in bid to find a lasting solution.

The last meeting of the four Heads of State took place in February 2020 at the Gatuna border post.

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