Ugandan authorities have deported another Rwandan businessman who was picked up from his place of work in western Uganda by operatives attached to Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
Emmanuel Cyamayire was dumped at Gatuna border post Monday night before he was picked up by Rwandan authorities.
Speaking from Kigali, Cyemayire said he was arrested on January 4 from his workplace in Mbarara town in western Uganda.
In Mbarara, he said, he operated an electronics shop with stock worth over Sh20 million (approximately Rwf5m).
He said he was first detained at Makenke Barracks in Mbarara where he spent a night before being transferred to Kampala where he was tortured.
“While in Makenke Barracks, a soldier who was interrogating me presented to me two documents, one of them a statement by Deo Nyirigira, who happens to be my local church pastor, accusing me of being a ‘a Kagame agent’,” he said.
Nyirigira is the lead pastor of Agape, a pentacostal church in Mbarara town which has previously been linked to the terrorist network of Rwandan dissidents, that calls itself Rwanda National Congress.
He identified the officer who interrogated him in Mbarara as Major Fred Mushambo, whom he said heads the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence in Mbarara.
Looking frail, 40-year old Cyemayire narrated that from the time of his arrest, he was kept blindfolded, and tied up in a room whose floor was soaked with stagnant water.
From Mbarara, he was driven, again blindfolded, to another destination, which he later discovered to be Mbuya Military Barracks in Kampala.
“I spent about eight days being tortured, while I spent much of that time with hands and legs tied on the stairway and several officers kept asking me why I frequently travelled to Rwanda,” he narrated.
“I was at first told that I was illegally staying in Uganda but when I told them to check my passport and presented my trading license, I was told that my release was at the discretion of their boss, one Abel Kandiho.”
Brigadier General Kandiho is the Director of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
Following his ordeal, Cyemayire said that after getting medical attention, he will approach Rwandan authorities to help him secure his property back in Uganda.
According to Cyemayire, he had been peacefully operating his business in Mbarara until after the presidential elections in Rwanda last year.
He said that some individuals, including his pastor, Deo Nyirigira, were opposed to his effort to encourage members of the Rwandan community in western Uganda to participate in the presidential elections held in August last year.
“Nyirigira openly encouraged the congregation – mainly composed of Rwandans – not to participate in the elections. I am certain it is him who masterminded my arrest,” he said.
Cyemayire is seventh Rwandan to be tortured at the hands of Ugandan security operatives only later to be driven from Kampala and literary dumped at Gatuna border.
Late last year, five Rwandan business operators faced similar ordeal, before they were dropped at the border after enduring torture for several days and handed to Rwandan authorities.
Most left their businesses behind.
Another Rwandan, Fidele Gatsinzi, who lives in Rwanda but had gone to Uganda to visit his son who attends university there, said he was picked up in Kampala in broad day light by Rwandan dissidents before he was handed over to CMI.
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa, travelled to Kigali earlier this month to meet President Paul Kagame and the two discussed bilateral relations.
This included continuing arrests and disappearance of Rwandan citizens in Uganda, which is causing tension and many Rwandan families petitioned their government to intervene on behalf of their loved ones, according to Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo.
In a recent interview with Uganda’s The Independent magazine, Frank Mugambage, Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, said that Rwanda has engaged Uganda’s Foreign Affairs ministry.
“But we have also engaged with people at different levels ,including the institutions that are mentioned in these cases, CMI and everybody. This information has been shared and we are trying to follow up.
“It is extremely important to emphasise the fact that Rwanda is very committed to building and reinforcing mutually beneficial relations in the neighbourhood. We are all for unity and solidarity, not only here but beyond. So anything that undermines that is something we take seriously and should not be allowed to happen,” Mugambage said.