16 January 2018

Uganda: Policeman Accused of Kidnapping Kagame's Bodyguard Bailed

Kampala — A junior policeman has been released on bail pending trial over accusations of kidnapping a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2013 before being dubiously extradited back home and sentenced to life imprisonment

The General Court Martial at Makindye on Monday released Mr Faisal Katende, a Special Police Constable (SPC) attached to the Flying Squad.

The court chaired by Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti reasoned that Mr Katende is not a high ranking officer to interfere with the ongoing investigations and prosecution witnesses.

"In our view, he has not served in various capacities so he is incapable of interfering with investigations and witnesses. The sureties are also substantial," ruled Gen. Gutti.

Gen Guti added: "the accused person shall not travel outside Kampala and Wakiso districts without permission and he must report to the court registrar every after two weeks until final determination of the case."

Mr Katende is among the nine suspects including senior police officers charged in connection with alleged kidnap of three Rwandan nationals.

Others include; the former Commandant of Police Professional Standard Unit Mr Joel Aguma, Senior Superintendent of Police Mr Nixon Agasirwe, Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada (Crime Intelligence), Sgt Abel Tumukunde of the Flying Squad, AIP Benon Atwebembeire and D/Cpl Amon Kwarisima, attached to the Crime Intelligence Department.

Other suspects are Rwandan national Rene Rutagungira and Bahati Mugenga Pacifique also known as Ilungu Monga, a Congolese national. All the suspects have since pleaded not guilty.

Mr Agasirwe is jointly charged with Mr Abudulnul Ssemuju in another offence of kidnap.

On December 18, last year, the court declined to grant bail to Mr Aguma citing unsubstantial sureties and interference with prosecution witnesses. The court is yet to make rulings in other bail applications for the remaining suspects.

Particulars of the case

The state alleges that on October 25 2013, at Kamengo in Mpigi District on Masaka Road, Aguma, Agasirwe Karuhanga, Magada, Atwebembeire, Tumukunde, Katende, Kwarisima, Rutangungira and Mugenga while in unlawful possession of firearms and grenades ordinarily a monopoly of the defence forces conveyed a one Joel Mutabaazi without his consent to the Republic of Rwanda.

Prosecution further alleges that on the same day, the group also conveyed one Kalemera Jackson also known as Ndinga. '

Mutabazi, a former lieutenant in President Paul Kagame's Republican Guard was allegedly kidnapped in Kampala in 2013 and handed over to his home government which sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Lt Mutabazi had fled to Uganda but was reportedly kidnapped in Kampala by security personnel and handed over to his home government. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr Katende was suspended for alleged extortion in 2014.

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