Rutabana reportedly in custody, Ugandan justice requests trial

On 24 February 2020 at 01:54

Ugandan justice authorities have unexpectedly requested to bring to justice Ben Rutabana, the associate of dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa in the Rwandan National Congress (RNC).

Rutabana, formerly a soldier in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), currently stands in the ranks of the opposition with RNC. 5 months ago, he was reported missing and the news brought discord in the already precarious terrorist organization.

The family and friends of Rutabana wrote countless letters to the RNC and the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking for help and asking about his whereabouts and safety. Given that Rutabana has French nationality, it reached a point where the family sought help from the French government but to no avail.

After his disappearance, a lot of rumors were heard that he was killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while others brought to light several conspiracy theories that he was assassinated by his RNC fellows. Kayumba Nyamwasa, the leader of the terrorist organization was the prime suspect in the disappearance of Rutabana.

Many months later, Ugandan media announced that Rutabana had been incarcerated in Uganda although the motive behind it was not mentioned. Rutabana coordinated most of RNC activities and frequently held talks with Philemon Mateke, the Ugandan Minister of State for Regional Affairs.

Rutabana went missing at a point where a hostile atmosphere reigned within RNC. The group faced hurdles since last year due to feuds between members, conspiracies, the sacking of several members and the death of an important number of its fighters who were also part of the P5 terrorist group financed by Rutabana and others.

Uganda admitting that Rutabana is in custody once again proves the country’s agenda of providing shelter and protection to dissidents aiming at destabilizing the security of Rwanda.

The Daily Monitor announced that Kampala High Court has ordered security authorities including Uganda Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and the Internal Security Organization (ISO) to bring to justice Ben Rutabana.

The request was signed by Justice Esta Nambayo on February 20th, 2020 although Rutabana was apprehended in September 2019. He was reportedly brought to the CMI in Mbuya, later transferred to ISO headquarters and brought back to CMI. All the transfers were conducted in utter secrecy.

His trial is highly anticipated mainly due to the fact that he was initially supported by the government of Uganda.

Rutabana left Belgium on Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 at 21:45 pm on board Emirates Airlines heading to Entebbe, Uganda. The flight made a stop in Dubai, United Arab Emirates before landing in Entebbe on September 5th at 13:50 pm.

All the while, he was communicating with his wife, Diane Rutabana between the 5th and the 8th of September but after that, he completely went MIA. He was expected to return back to Belgium on September 19th but he never came back.

After news that he went missing, many people wondered why he went missing in Uganda despite the fact that he had for years been moving in and out of the country with no security concern whatsoever.

News about his indictment were announced after the government of Uganda and CMI appeared in court to justify the reason behind the arrest of Rwandans, Theogene Sendegeya and Emmanuel Mageza. The two were arrested for 11 months and were not allowed to appear in courts to respond to alleged crimes. Mageza died from torture while Sendegeya reportedly escaped to Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital.

Uganda stands accused of hosting and financing Rwanda dissidents and terrorist organizations and for issuing a Ugandan passport to Charlotte Mukankusi, RNC Commissioner for Diplomacy. On Thursday last week, however, Uganda announced that her passport had been revoked.

On Monday last week, Uganda dropped charges against Fidele Nzabonimpa and Seleman Kabayija who were accused of illegal possession of firearms. The two Rwandans fled to Uganda after taking part in a terrorist attack in Kinigi, Musanze District claiming 14 lives. They were handed over to Rwanda where they are expected to appear in court.

Rwanda requested to Uganda that Mugwaneza Eric and Captain Nshimiye alias ‘Governor’ should also be handed over to Rwanda as they are the main suspects of the attack.

During the fourth quadripartite summit which was held at Gatuna/Katuna border on February 21st, 2020, Uganda was given one month to verify allegations that it hosts Rwanda dissidents and if found true, take actions to definitively stop all support to those groups and preventing it from happening again.

Uganda and Rwanda also signed the Extradition Treaty which established a legal framework to handle legal cases of justice.

Ugandan justice authorities have unexpectedly requested to bring to justice Ben Rutabana