Uganda: Four Ugandans Released From Rwanda Police Detention

11 January 2020

Four Ugandan nationals who have been in detention at Murindi police station in neighbouring Rwanda have been released and deported.

Ernest Agaba, 24, Samuel Arineitwe, 24, Ernest Bangirana, 41, and Ambrose Twesigomwe, 39, could not hide their excitement on Saturday morning as they talked to journalists at Katuna border post.

They had been in detention for even days.

"My younger brother Twesigomwe and I were arrested last Saturday (January 4) morning by Rwandan security officials that later took us to Murindi police station. We had crossed into Rwanda to look for our relative is mentally ill. At the time of our arrest, we did not know that we were on Rwandan soil. After interrogation, the Rwandan security officials had been promising to release us every day until today morning when they transported us from Murindi police station to Gatuna border post with Uganda," Mr Bangirana said.

"On reaching Gatuna the Rwandan security officials took our photographs, photocopied our national identity cards before they handed us over to the Ugandan immigration officials at Gatuna also known as Katuna," he added.

Mr Bangirana and Twesigomwe are residents of Rugarama village, Buhara Sub County in Kabale District while Agaba is a resident of Mubungo village in Buhara Sub County Kabale District.

Arineitwe is a resident of Mayengo village in Katuna town council.

Agaba told journalists that he had crossed to Rwanda to visit his grandfather who stays at Gatoma village in Kizinga on December 29, 2019 while Arineitwe said he was arrested on Saturday as he transported a passenger on his bicycle into Rwanda from Katuna town council.

All the victims told the journalists that they survived on boiled maize and beans served daily by police authorities.

"For all the days that we were in detention, we were not tortured or mistreated. The detention cells were clean. We were about 40 detainees in one cell of which five were Ugandans. We were given 20 liters of water per day," Mr Agaba said.

However, eh added that their Ugandan colleague was left in detention for unknown reasons.

On Friday, Mr Gelvasio Mutabanura an uncle to Bangirana and Twesigomwe said that the family members were worried about their lives as there was no communication about their detention and release.

The Rwandan ambassador to Uganda Maj Gen Frank Mugambage on Friday said that he had no idea about the detained Ugandans.

"I have no idea about that matter," Mr Mugambage said on Friday in a phone interview.

The Katuna town council mayor, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija who received the Ugandan nationals from Rwabnda and handed the over to their elatives said "We are all happy that our Ugandan nationals that were detained in Rwanda have been released in good health. My advice is that they should always use gazette border points and avoid breaking Rwandan immigrations laws."

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