Man tortured in Uganda says his ‘only crime was being Rwandan’

Felecien Ruzigamanzi who was dumped at the border by Ugandan authorities. Courtesy.

Felecien Ruzigamanzi, 23, a Rwandan who hails from Nyagatare District, was bundled into a car and dumped at the Kagitumba border crossing on Tuesday.

This came after he spent about “two months of horror” in a detention facility in Uganda’s western district of Ntungamo.


He went to Uganda in, in July last year, in search for work but later, this year, Ugandan policemen found him at a construction site where he worked as a casual labourer and arrested him “just because I was Rwandan.”


Many Rwandans have suffered similar fates, or even worse, and continue to suffer in Uganda.


Those lucky to return home alive complained of endless assault of Rwandan prisoners in Uganda in addition to slavery.

What Ugandan authorities are allowing to happen to innocent citizens of a neighbouring state, they said, is not only wicked but also shameful.

Like many other Rwandans who have suffered in Uganda just because they are Rwandans, he was regularly beaten up and subjected to slavery.

“I really don’t understand why but all they could always tell me is that Rwandans are not wanted in Uganda. My only crime was being a Rwandan. Life in detention was horrible. I was forced to dig and clear fields every day.”

Harassment of Rwandans in Uganda is partly the reason for the frosty relations between the two neighbouring nations. 

When the situation worsened, in March this year, following massive cases of abductions of Rwandans in different parts of Uganda, with hundreds thrown into detention facilities and denied due process, Rwanda issued a travel advisory against it nationals travelling to Uganda.

The Ugandan government is also linked to anti-Kigali armed groups, including FDLR, the offshoot of forces and militia blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, RNC,  a terrorist group formed by Rwandan dissidents in 2010, and FLN, which last year made incursions on Rwandan territory through Burundi, killing at least nine civilians and wounding several others.

In December last year, a UN Group of Experts’ report named Uganda as one of the main sources of recruits for a Rwandan rebel group based in eastern DR Congo that calls itself P5.

The latter comprises five groups including RNC, FDLR, FLN and others, which are opposed to Kigali.

An agreement was signed in Angola’s capital, Luanda, between President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, with the two leaders committing to work to relations has yielded no hope for peace.

The situation has not changed with Uganda continuing to rounded up and imprisoning Rwandans.

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