15 March 2019

Rwanda: Three More Victims of Illegal Detention Deported From Uganda

Three people who say that they had been illegally detained and harassed in Uganda were yesterday handed over to Rwandan authorities at Kagitumba border in Nyagatare District.

The trio, all male, are Amon Ngabonzima, Xavier Gashongore and Augustin Maniragaba.

They are the latest among the dozens of Rwandans who have encountered brutality from Ugandan authorities while on their business or personal trips in the country.

Fifteen-year old Ngabonzima from Gakenke District was arrested on October 5, last year and detained in Makenke military barracks in Mbarara District in Western Uganda.

He had travelled to Uganda to visit his sister.

"When I reached Kisoro (Uganda), I took a bus to Fort Portal... when we reached Bushenyi town, the bus made a stopover," he narrated, adding that the three Rwandans who were aboard were ordered to get off and accused of being Rwandan spies.

They were then taken to a police station, but did not stay there for long as police transferred them to Makenke.

Ngabonzima said that while there two Rwandans who had also been detained died after they were tortured.

As for 39-year-old Gashongore from Bugesera District, he had been living in Uganda since 2000 where he was a farmer and running a barber shop.

He was picked up from his barber shop on February 1, 2019 and taken to a military barracks where he was tortured, he said.

"We were taken to Fort Portal barracks (in Western Uganda) where we were incarcerated. We were later transferred to Makenke (barracks)," he said.

"We were three people in the cell... they poured water in our faces three times, which went straight into our noses, leading to intense bleeding."

When outside the building, Gashongore said, they were given military outfits.

"Anyone on the outside could think that we were soldiers."

Upon their release from the military barracks, they were taken to Mbarara police station from where they would be arraigned in court on false charges of illegal entry into Uganda, he stated.

Their travel documents had been confiscated by Ugandan soldiers, Gashongore added.

Gashongore also claims his money, totalling 1.2 million Ugandan shillings was taken by the soldiers.

His family did not know where he was.

"Rwandan nationals, even though you have valid documents, they detain you and say that you are a spy," said Ngabonzima, the youngest of the three Rwandans who were deported yesterday said.

"My advice to Rwandans, Uganda is not a place to be, let's work hard and contribute to our country's development," he vowed.

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