Blur after death of Rwandan businessman in CMI custody

On 22 August 2023 at 07:34

A Rwandan businessman, Fred Kayitare has died in the custody of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), The Monitor has reported.

The circumstances leading to his demise remain shrouded in uncertainty. Kayitare, a well-known figure in Kampala, was often spotted driving his personalized Range Rover with a ’Fred K’ registration plate.

CMI, the investigative branch of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has yet to provide an official statement regarding the incident, which was made public on Monday evening.

Sources familiar with the situation have indicated that operatives reported Kayitare’s death to the police on Saturday, categorizing it as a suicide. They claimed that he had jumped from the second floor of the CMI headquarters building in Mbuya, a suburb of the city, during an interrogation session.

However, doubts have been raised about this account, as interrogations typically occur on the ground floor of the building, rather than the location from which Kayitare allegedly jumped.

It has been reported that members of CMI and the Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (JATT) apprehended Kayitare in the middle of last week. The precise reason for his detention remains speculative, with conflicting reports of alleged involvement in fraud and cybercrime that could not be independently verified.

Relatives of Kayitare expressed shock upon learning of the army’s claim that he had taken his own life. A vigil was held in his honor in Kampala on Sunday, and his widow revealed plans to repatriate his body to Rwanda. She however said that this process has been hindered by the fact that his wallet, containing his identity card, is still held by authorities.

The Deputy Spokesman of UPDF/Defence, Col Deo Akiiki, informed The Monitor that he was not privy to the details of the case but would seek to ascertain further information.

This incident isn’t the first time that Rwandans have been detained at CMI’s facility in Mbuya under ambiguous circumstances. Tensions escalated in 2017 amid deteriorating relations between Rwanda and Uganda.

Negotiations aimed at easing these tensions ultimately led to the release of detained Rwandans. In June of the previous year, Maj Gen James Birungi, the head of CMI, visited Rwanda and engaged with senior military officials in an attempt to improve relations.

Late Rwandan businessman, Fred Kamariza with her wife.
Kamariza was often spotted driving his personalized Range Rover with a ’Fred K’ registration plate.