Rwandan businessman narrates ordeal in Uganda detention

Gatsinzi told The New Times yesterday that the security agents who picked him up were working alongside fugitives of RNC namely; Rugema Kayumba and a one Mukombozi.
Gatsinzi narrates his ordeal to the media in Kigali. Nadege Imbabazi
Gatsinzi narrates his ordeal to the media in Kigali. Nadege Imbabazi

“I could not wait to die.”

Those were the words of Fidele Gatsinzi, a Rwandan national, who endured twelve days of torture by Ugandan security operatives.

He was dumped at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Katuna early Friday morning from where he was transported to Kigali.

Gatsinzi had travelled to Uganda to visit his son, a university student at Mukono Christian University.

He checked into a hotel in the Kampala suburb of Ntinda.

It was in Ntinda where he was picked up by security operatives.

Gatsinzi told The New Times yesterday that the security agents who picked him up were working alongside fugitives of RNC namely; Rugema Kayumba and a one Mukombozi.

RNC (Rwanda National Congress) is a terrorist outfit led by fugitive Kayumba Nyamwasa, and responsible for a series of grenade attacks that hit Kigali and other parts of Rwanda between 2012 and 2014.

“I booked into a hotel in Ntinda and that is where I was picked by Rugema Kayumba and Mukombozi. These are RNC fugitives who are working closely with Uganda’s CMI (Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence),” Gatsinzi said

While shopping in Ntinda, Gatsinzi said he was approached by Mukombozi who asked if he knew of Rugema Kayumba, before he could answer he was bundled into a waiting vehicle that quickly sped-off to a safe house not far from Ntinda.

In the car, Gatsinzi said, were rifles, AK 47s and machine guns, pointing to armed operations openly carried out by the RNC members in Kampala.

It was there that his ordeal started.

He was blindfolded round the clock, beaten continuously, undressed, and spending nights on cold floors.

“I was tied on the stairway; I was half-naked and it was very freezing cold. I waited to die,” Gatsinzi says with a lot of difficulty. His speech is hampered by pain and you can see the fatigue in his eyes.

Gatsinzi added that one of the things he was questioned about was the mobilising of Rwandan refugees to return home to their country.

Under the “come and see” programme, Rwandans living as refugees abroad are mobilised to come and visit their country, with the goal of them returning home instead of living undignified lives as refugees. Through the programme, thousands of Rwandans have returned back home.

On Day 9, Gatsinzi was put in the car and was told it was his last day.

It was a long drive.

“They made three stopovers. I could hear them discuss whether to kill me or spare me,” Gatsinzi said.

He added that they stopped at Makenke Barracks in Mbarara District of Western Uganda. At the Barracks, Gatsinzi says, there were a number of Rwandans and Burundians most of them being recruits of Rwanda National Congress (RNC).

He spent two ‘‘horrific’’ nights in detention in Mbarara. Gastinzi says he declined to eat or drink anything as there was no access to toilets, and the floor on which he slept was drenched in urine.

On Thursday night, he was driven from Mbarara and dropped at Katuna border.

Surprisingly, Ugandan immigration officials wrote a letter dated December 22, accusing him of being in Uganda without valid travel documents.

And yet when he left Rwanda, he crossed through Katuna border using his National Identification Card and was given an interstate travel pass which is used by members of East African Community under the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiative.

Gatsinzi is not the only Rwandan to be kidnapped and illegally detained by Ugandan security operatives.

Another Rwandan Rene Rutagungira was detained for 3 months and forced to confess to cases of espionage and kidnapping. He was recently arraigned in a court martial with trumped up charges.

The New Times that understands Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, has officially communicated to the Ugandan government over the matter.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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