Rwanda welcomes 20 citizens deported from Uganda, urges end to‘illegal arrests, torture’

State Minister, Nduhungirehe and the 20 Rwandans who were deported from Uganda. (Courtesy)

The Government has welcomed 20 Rwandans who it says were deported Wednesday from Uganda, where they had been illegally detained.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, “expressed his sympathy to the deported Rwandans and their families for the pain and difficulties they faced.”

"These illegal detentions, mistreatment and deportations is the reason the Government of Rwandan advised our citizens not to travel to Uganda,” he said.

“We continue to call on Uganda to halt all collaboration with terrorist groups hostile to Rwanda including RNC, in targeting, illegally detaining, and torturing Rwandans and instead use lawful means to bring to justice any Rwandans suspected of breaking the law," he added.

Kigali reiterated that the latest deportation of Rwandan nationals by Uganda is not an isolated case.

“The fate of hundreds of Rwandans, whose names are known to the Government of Uganda, who have been killed, arrested, incarcerated without consular access and tortured, nor the close to one thousand illegally deported to Rwanda in inhumane conditions has never been addressed by Uganda, though repeatedly brought up by Rwanda through diplomatic channels,” the statement reads in part.

The statement did not provide any details about the identities of those deported, or how long they had been in custody, but Wednesday’s deportations are the largest group of Rwandans deported from Uganda at once over the last couple of months.

Until this particular case, individual or small groups of Rwandans were being dumped at the border by Ugandan authorities.

While the latest arrivals have yet to talk to the media, previous deportees have told tales of inhumane treatment and torture at the hands of Uganda’s security forces, especially intelligence agents and operatives linked to Rwandan terror group RNC.

RNC was created by Rwandan fugitives, including former senior military officers wanted in Rwanda over terrorism-related cases for which they were tried in absentia and sentenced to varied jail terms. The group is linked to a spate of fatal grenade attacks that rocked the capital Kigali about 10 years ago.

Uganda has also been linked to other anti-Kigali armed groups, including FDLR, the offshoot of forces and militia largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and FLN, which last year made incursions on Rwandan territory through Burundi, killing at least nine civilians and wounding several others.

Uganda’s support to a myriad of Rwandan rebel groups has partly been revealed by senior FDLR and FLN leaders who were arrested within the last six months and are appearing before courts of law. 

A UN report of experts released in December also said Uganda was a major source of new recruits for ‘P5’, a coalition that brings together different Rwandan rebel groups led by RNC’s Kayumba Nyamwasa. Nyamwasa is based in South Africa.

Kampala has rejected the accusations and claimed it arrests those involved in espionage and other illegal activities --  although most of those deported said they were never charged in court.

However, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni admitted in a letter to his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in March to “accidentally” meeting in his office RNC officials.

 

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