Rwanda: Over 20 Rwandans Killed in Uganda Since April 2019

16 September 2021

More than 20 Rwandans have been killed in various parts of Uganda, since April 2019, according to information availed from different sources including relatives of the victims.

Some of the bodies of slain Rwandans were dumped on the Rwandan border before Ugandan authorities would eventually hand them over. The most recent case was that of Paul Bangirana, 47, from Kaniga sector and Theoneste Dusabimana, 52, from Cyumba sector, in Gicumbi district, Northern Province.

Their bodies were eventually handed over to Rwandan authorities by Ugandan counterparts on September 9, at the Gatuna-Katuna border crossing in Gicumbi district.

At the time, Dusabimana's elder brother, Yohani Kanimba, said the deceased worked in a tea plantation in Tooro region, Western Uganda, and they had last seen him over a year ago.

"We were expecting him home last month. We started getting very worried when others back where he works called asking us if he had reached home yet he hadn't yet got here," Kanimba said.

"It was so heartbreaking to be informed that his body had been found, lifeless, and all his possessions stolen. He often travelled to Uganda and stay long as he worked. After a year or two, he would come home with money to provide for his family."

Kanimba observed that everyone, especially border communities must pay more attention to the government's advisory against travel to Uganda because "there is no job worth anyone's life there."

Besides, Bangirana and Dusabimana, according to sources, several other Rwandans have been killed from the neighbouring country, some tortured to death, in Uganda.

Sources say that considering the current situation, there are, most likely, many more assassinations of Rwandans in Uganda that are unreported.

Felix Ndayambaje, the Mayor of Gicumbi District, told The New Times that in the past two years the sectors of Kaniga, Cyumba and Rubaya lost three, one and two residents, respectively, after they were killed in Uganda.

The New Times was able to verify 23 cases since April 2019 to date.

2019

On April 11, 2019, Theogene Dusengimana was hacked to death and his body mutilated, in Kabarole district. On July 22, that year, Isaac Sendegeya was shot dead by the Ugandan army in Kisoro district. A few days earlier, on July 6, Faustin Niyonzima was hacked to death and his body mutilated in the same district.

Janvier Nsanzimana was hacked to death by use of machetes in Kyenjojo district, on July 28, 2019.

On August 17, Nunu Johnson from Ntungamo district succumbed to the effects of torture at the hands of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) agents in Mbuya barracks.

He died soon after his release. Silas Hategekimana died of a fractured rib and lung abrasions, on August 30, 2019, also due to torture by CMI. He died a few days after being dumped by Ugandan security services at the Rwandan border.

Felicien Mbonabakeka died on December 31, 2019. Mbonabakeka, a 35-year-old father of four, was attacked and beaten to death, in Kisoro district, by a gang of youth "who are hunting" Rwandan nationals on Ugandan territory.

2020

Rwandans killed in Uganda in 2020 include Gasore Semukanya whose body was found hanging in a tree in a forest in Kisoro district on February 1, 2020.

The other one is Emmanuel Magezi, who was tortured to death by CMI in February last year, in Mbuya military barracks, but his body was never repatriated.

Bosco Mwiseneza was denied medical treatment just because he is Rwandan and he died on February 19 in Kisoro district.

Emmanuel Baragahoranye was beaten to death in Kisoro on August 1 while Ivan Mukiza was stabbed to death, in the district, nine days later.

2021

On February 10, Lawrence Sebusande was shot dead at his home in Isingiro district by CMI operatives. Four days later, assailants in Mbarara district beat to death John Mushabe. Alphonse Hitimana was killed in March in Kabale district.

Bazambanza Munyemana, was tied on a log, beaten and burnt to death, on June 6 this year, before his body was dumped at the border. Daniel Sibomana was killed in Kampala in August and his body also dumped at the Cyanika border.

Gaspard Izagira was beaten to death by Ugandan soldiers in Kabale district before his body was dumped at the Cyanika border. Jean Damascene Karuhije was killed in May and his body dumped at the same border.

Bahati Ntwali who worked as a car mechanic in Kampala where he had lived for four years was killed in August. He was tied up, strangled, severely stabbed and robbed before his house was set ablaze.

In the past, The New Times established that nearly all Rwandan nationals that turned up dead in circumstances like these were people that had refused to cooperate with recruiters of Uganda-based terrorist groups bent on destabilizing Rwanda, most notably Kayumba Nyamwasa's RNC, and the FDLR genocidal forces.

Soon after the burial of Bangirana and Dusabimana, the Mayor of Gicumbi District and other local leaders again took it upon themselves to up the sensitization of border communities about the danger across the border.

Need to understand the danger

"We visited many areas, especially in Cyumba sector, where we held meetings with the local population to sensitize them. They need to understand the danger about crossing to Uganda and mind their own security," Mayor Ndayambaje said on Tuesday, September 14.

"We urged our people to take advantage of the availed income generation opportunities in their own region. For example, there is the six-year Green Gicumbi Project managed by FONERWA has income generating opportunities for our people."

The Gicumbi project dubbed 'Strengthening Climate Resilience of Rural Communities in Northern Rwanda' in Gicumbi District is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and will be implemented by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA).

It targets nine sectors - out of the 21 sectors in Gicumbi district. Communities in Gicumbi district benefit through improved livelihoods, enhanced forest management, climate smart farming and improved agriculture and land management.

In the past four years, hundreds of Rwandans were arrested in Uganda on allegations including espionage and illegal entry and stay in the country. Many were arrested, tortured and eventually deported. Others died while still in captivity.

Some 16 other Rwandans were on September 8, received at the Cyanika Border in Burera District, after being deported from Uganda. Eleven Rwandans - 10 men and one woman - were in July received at Kagitumba One Stop Border Post in Nyagatare District after being deported.

Earlier, 17 Rwandans were on May 5 deported from Uganda after being illegally detained in the country for weeks. In March, five Rwandans were dumped at Kagitumba border post by Uganda's Ministry of Internal Affairs, following lengthy detentions, mostly in secret facilities.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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