Congo agrees to release Sam Mugumya, Uganda ‘refuses’

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Sam Mugumya

Congo authorities have reportedly agreed to release former Kizza Besigye’s aide, Sam Mugumya, from prison and send him back to Uganda.

Moses Byamugyisha, a former aide of Besigye and FDC presidential candidate, told edge.ug on Thursday, that Mugumya would now be in the country had Ugandan authorities agreed to his release.

Byamugyisha said the Democratic Republic of Congo government in August this year agreed to release and transfer Mugumya and his colleagues back to Uganda because Congo now says they have no case against him.

“Uganda authorities refused and asked Congo to hold on.”

Mugumya last month began his fifth year under “illegal detention” at Ndolo Military Prison in the commune of Barumbu near the capital Kinshasa.

“There has been a lot of diplomatic work behind the scenes by our leaders. It had to be diplomatic work because this is in an issue that involves two states,” Byamugyisha told edge.ug.

“There had to be a better way to push it. So in august this year, the DRC authorities specifically the military [Ndolo military prison] exonerated Mugumya and indicated that they have no case against him.”

According to Byamugyisha, Congo authorities wanted him transferred back to Uganda.

The International Community of the Red Cross [IRC] came into the picture. It was supposed to receive Mugumya and transport him to Uganda.

Negotiations were done and documents signed. IRC officials went to the military prison for the official handover for his transfer.

“On that day, one of the military officer in charge of that process telephoned his Ugandan counterparts telling them that they had decided to released Mugumya,” Byamugyisha narrates.

He said Ugandan authorities advised Congo to hold him and that they would contact them later.

Mugumya is still being held pending a decision by Ugandan authorities.

“Our question is: why are Ugandan authorities interested in detaining Mugumya in Congo? If they have a case against him, why not receive him and charge him in Ugandan courts?”

According to Byamugyisha, his colleague Mugumya has never appeared before any court whether civil or military.

Background

Mugumya, an Opposition activist, was arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2014.

Mugumya, a Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party member was arrested, together with Aggrey Kamukama, Steven Mugisha, Nathan Bright and Joseph Kamugisha.

Government swore they would not be extradited back to Uganda, accusing them of engaging in subversive activities having been found with dollars and sensitive documents.

State minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello told Parliament then that due to lack of an extradition treaty between Uganda and Congo, the DR government declined to send him back and that he would stand trial.

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