Mutabazi is a young businessman said to own a shop worth Rwf 35 million in Ruhango district. His family missed him on 21st November 2020 around 2pm, failed to locate the man and reported the case to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Ruhango station the following morning.
At the same time, Rwandans inside the country and abroad started advocacy claiming the man belonging Green Party (one of political parties registered in Rwanda) was abducted by security officials.
IGIHE has learnt that the man might have fled home trying to run away from heavy debt issues and spoke to different sources including Mutabazi to establish the truth.
Mutabazi told IGIHE that he had a civil marriage planned on 10th December 2020 and religious wedding after ten days.
The latter explained that he was born in Karongi district but running foods and beverages business in Ruhango district.
Mutabazi revealed that he was never kidnapped but rather fled his residence due to clashes with his sister and brother in law.
As for the case, they were shareholders of the aforementioned shop and requested Mutabazi to give them shares before his wedding.
“They came to stay at my home saying they want to get money worth their shares or stay with me. I told them to stay and help me to the run the business. They later deprived me of the shop’s keys and felt deranged. I decided to leave them to meditate the situation given that I also had a wedding on 20th December,” he said.
As he narrated, Mutabazi left on 21st November and headed to Nyaruguru where he spent three days. He later, in the morning bought bus ticket on different names and headed to Kigali where he spent night in Kimironko and went to Rwamagana the following day.
“Upon arrival in Rwamagana, I heard that my disappearance triggered speculations that I might have died. I traveled again and found someone whom I begged help as I arrived in Kabuga ka Musha. I told him that I committed no offense except people worried of my disappearance,” he said.
“I asked him to escort me to the forest, tie me and alert local leaders. He agreed to tell soldiers in the nearby barrack and did so. As soldiers came for rescue, they untied me, took me Police Station which later took for medical checkup because I was not feeling well,” added Mutabazi.
He explained that depriving him of the shop destabilized him as it was the only source of funds to pay debts.
“I owed debts to other people and fell in ambiguity as I had no other source of funds. This cumbersome situation pushed me to leave without telling anyone,” he said.
Mutabazi revealed that he had Rwf 20 million bank loan to which the outstanding of Rwf 14 million.
“No one abducted me. I left willingly to meditate my situation. That is why I asked the child to alert the Police or Military for intervention,” he noted.
His brother in law had asked Mutabazi to pay Rwf 5.4 million in November and the rest totaling Rwf 2 million in January 2021 so he could accept to distance from him.
“After learning about my wedding, he came to stay with me saying it is impossible to arrange wedding without paying him. We wrote statements indicating that we share the shop that he will continue to work with me in November if the payments are not cleared,” explained Mutabazi.
He apologized to officials and his family advising people to distance themselves from lies.
A young man called Bosco Niyomugabo, 25 from Rwamagana district; Mwulire sector was lured to tie Manirakiza. He was returning home from construction work on 27th November 2020.
As the bus from Rwamagana stopped nearby Niyomugabo, a man stepped out and asking him if he was willing to do a job.
Mutabazi told Niyomugabo to wait a bit and went to buy a scarf from a nearby shop. As he returned, Mutabazi asked the young man he didn’t hear announcement for a disappeared person and replied ‘no’.
“That person who disappeared is me. He was working for a political party which is not easily coming across my mind. I am from Ruhango. He asked me whether I know the surrounding forests and replied ’yes’. He then asked me to escort him inside. He gave me two ropes and instructed me tie the month and cover his face with a scarf. He told me to tie him on a tree using the second rope and rush to alert officials,”said Manirakiza.
As he explained, Mutabazi immediately gave him Rwf 2000 and rushed to alert nearby military barracks. “He had advised me to say that I heard someone crying as I went urinate,” narrated Manirakiza.
Upon arrival to the scene, soldiers took a picture and asked Manirakiza to untie the man.
The Acting spokesperson of RIB, Dr Murangira B. Thierry has told IGIHE that the institution learnt about the disappearance upon report of his aunt.
“On 25th November 2020, Ruhango RIB station received a complaint from Nyiraneza Marthe (the man’s aunt) reporting that a man identified as Mutabazi Ferdinand went missing. Investigation started immediately. The man was on 27th November found tied in the forest of Rwamagana district, Musha sector, Musha cell, in Rugarama village,” he said.
Dr Murangira explained that the man accused his brother in law Nshimiyimana Samuel to have betrayed him leading into abduction by unknown people.
Dr Murangira futher says, investigation continued until the man revealed the truth that he wanted to drag the brother in law in prison so he could get rid of debts burden.
“Mutabazi told investigators that he sought someone to tie him in Musha’s small forest and alert security officials in compensation for money. It happened as planned that the man tied him and alerted officials who rushed to the scene,” he explained.
Dr Murangira appealed on Rwandans to avoid similar crimes and seek mediation instead of making poor decisions.
“What Mutabazi did is an example of cases reported to RIB that people went missing yet they fled problems. Some of such cases are related to people leaving their homes without telling family members due to different problems like debts and other family issues,” he said.
“In the process, some try to drag people in their cases. Others flee and join terror groups abroad or keep hiding in other countries,” added Dr Murangira.
“Trying to hide behind abduction reasons to solve problems is not the remedy. It however exposes you to further risks.”
The man detained at Ruhango Station on account of false accusation. If convicted, he is liable to a sentence between two and six months and a fine ranging from Rwf 300.000 to Rwf 500.000.