Two Rwandans were deported to Rwanda, through the Kagitumba border in Nyagatare District, having been tortured at the hands of Ugandan security operatives, according to their separate accounts.
The two are Paul Muhirwa, 36, a cleric, and Emmanuel Mibungo, 32, who operated a business in Uganda.
They had both lived in Uganda for years with their families.
Speaking to The New Times upon arrival in Kigali, on Tuesday, Muhirwa said that he had lived in Uganda for ten years and, had not done anything wrong before he was arrested. He said he was only preaching the word of God.
He said he was surprised when he was picked up by security operatives, whom he would later learn were agents of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
“I went to Uganda in 2009 and became a preacher in a community church in Kanungu district ,western region. I later formed my own church, River of Life Ministry, and stayed in Uganda with my family and preaching was my only occupation for years.
“One day in early April, 2019, I had visited a neighbour and we were talking when a soldier approached us and asked me who I was and how I came to Uganda.
“He did not even wait for me to answer, he immediately grabbed me and I was bundled into a car that he had come with,” he narrated.
Muhirwa said that, for hours, he was in a state of confusion when they took him to a police station called Mburabuzi. This is where he was told that he faced espionage charges, he said.
He was being accused of acting as an agent of senior government officials in Rwanda.
“This even confused me more.”
Then the grueling interrogation sessions started, during which he was tortured by his tormentors, telling him that the only way they would let him go was for him to confess that he was spying for Rwanda.
After four days, he said, a soldier found him in a police cell.
“He asked me whether I was Rwandan, I said yes then asked me what (President) Kagame had sent me to do there, I remained silent and he ordered soldiers to transfer me to CMI (headquarters) in Kampala,” he said.
He said he was blindfolded, together with another Rwandan, and driven to Mbuya in Kampala.
We were many there, we suffered torture for days. In other rooms, I would hear people screaming as they were being tortured.
“We all lived in terrible pain, we lived in pitch darkness and in a very cold place, we were never fed and we slept on a cold floor on which soldiers would occasionally pour water so that it remained cold and ensure we do not fall asleep.”
Seemingly weak for his age, Muhirwa said he felt pain in all parts of his body, especially in knees, in the back and in the stomach.
He said that he knows many other Rwandans who are detained, including those who can’t even walk because of the torture they experienced.
He named some as Nelson, Asiimwe, Pierre, Dan Karangwa, who was a teacher, Vincent, among others.
“All of them have been in detention for months and, like me, no one has ever been produced before court, let alone allowed to meet their lawyers.”
The story is not any different for Mibungo, who had lived in Uganda in 2014, after he had established a business there.
“Last month, soldiers came home and picked me and took me to a police station, I stayed there for days before I was taken to CMI in Mbuya.
“When I got there, I was accused of being a spy and they beat me badly, I was ordered to carry heavy weights and was subjected to other forms of torture,” Mibungo said.
“Sometimes, CMI officers came and asked us whether we could join RNC and whoever accepts they would stop torturing them and facilitated them to join RNC, some were taken but I did not go there because I did not see any justified reason,” he added.
Mibungo said he has no hope to ever rejoin his Ugandan wife and two children who are still in Uganda but said he’ll encourage them to come to Rwanda after getting better.
Both men say that CMI works closely with Rwanda National Congress (RNC) – a terror outfit – in recruiting Rwandans to join the terror group.
Since 2017 hundreds of Rwandans have reportedly been arrested, held incommunicado and tortured in Uganda.
Some of those who have since been released have told of despicable treatment at the hands of individuals linked to the Ugandan military during their detention in ‘safe houses’ while many are still missing.