Sezibera: Rwandans being harassed, arrested & tortured in Uganda

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Richard Sezibera, Rwanda's foreign minister

Richard Sezibera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Republic of Rwanda, has advised citizens not to travel to Uganda where they will allegedly be harassed.

“As explained to many journalists, all Rwanda’s borders are open. Trucks and heavy vehicles are advised to use Kagitumba due to ongoing construction at Gatuna,” he tweeted on his official handle.

He was responding to an earlier crisis caused by the closure of Katuna border.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since summoned the Rwandan ambassador to Kampala Maj Gen Frank Mugambage over the matter.

Sezibera used the same opportunity to accuse Ugandan authorities of witch-hunting Rwandan nationals living in the country.

“Rwandans are strongly advised NOT to travel to Uganda due to on-going arrests, harassment, torture, incarceration without consular access, deportation etc,” Sezibera said in a social media message.

He added: “This is for their own security. Ugandans in Rwanda or travelling through Rwanda are safe.”

His remarks came hours after the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence [CMI] released Rwandan nationals and sent them back to Kigali.

One of the released Rwandans is Donnie Kayibanda who was arrested in Kisasi township, a Kampala suburb while returning from a relative’s wedding in January this year.

Kayibanda studied at Butare University as a soldier and was reportedly attached to Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Service [NISS].

He was detained in an unknown location but never charged with any crimes.  

The intelligence wing of the Ugandan military has on several occasions been accused of illegally arresting, detaining and torturing Rwandan nationals under the guise of hunting spies.

In the same month, CMI arrested two followers of self-styled city pastor, Prophet Elvis Mbonye of Zoe ministries.

Another Rwandan couple Darius Kayobera and his wife Claudene Uwineza were arrested at their premises around Musajjalumba road in Rubaga division on suspicion of engaging in espionage against Uganda.

This came shortly after security deported MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, back to Rwanda for compromising national security.

Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, told media in Kampala that Uganda is not witch-hunting Rwandans and that is not holding nationals in detention centres.

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