28 December 2017

Uganda: 45 Detained Rwandans Charged With Terrorism in Uganda

Photo: Nicholas Bamulanzeki/The Observer
Lawyers Gawaya Tegulle (L) and Eron Kiiza address the media.

Kampala — 45 Rwandans, who are detained at Nalufenya police detention centre in Jinja District, have been charged with terrorism.

The Rwandans were arrested two weeks ago in Kikagati in Isingiro District at the Uganda-Tanzania border and transferred to Nalufenya for detention.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said they were moving with forged documents and identifications that point to acts of terrorism.

"Forty-three suspects were arrested on their way out of the country travelling on forged documents and false identities. Two suspects were arrested in Kampala and were some of their collaborators. Later, after questioning, police found that they are culpable of more serious offences than forgery, including terrorism," Mr Kayima said in a statement issued out to the media yesterday.

He dismissed claims that the suspects are Rwandan refugees. He said they are Rwandan nationals who migrated to Uganda and were living in different parts of the country.

He said this was confirmed by evidence and personal admissions.

"The investigating team has completed investigations pending perusal and prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The delay to appear in court has been to a large measure due to the festive season," Mr Kayima said.

The police explanation follows publication a story by Daily Monitor yesterday in which the suspects, through their lawyers of KOB Advocates and Solicitors, had petitioned Jinja Chief Magistrate's Court seeking an order to compel government to release them unconditionally.

The lawyers said their clients had been in police detention longer than is constitutionally allowed and without being told their alleged crime.

The lawyers said the suspects were Rwandan refugees from Nakivale settlement camp in Mbarara District and comprised women and children. They said they were arrested while travelling to Tanzania for a Christian fellowship and transferred to Nalufenya in Jinja, about 350km away from the scene of arrest.

Mr Kayima said they were detained in Nalufenya for jurisdiction considerations, and explained that Nalufenya is a gazetted police facility.

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