Mutemberezi Fulgence, a resident of Rubavu district who was also detained in Kisoro had established a restaurant business ten months ago in Uganda and got arrested this week by Ugandan authorities.
“When I showed up to work on Monday, police officers and soldiers were surrounding the area saying they were looking for Rwandans. I was captured too, taken to prison and the following day, I was brought to court with many other Rwandans where we were accused of being in Uganda illegally. This was not true because I had papers allowing me to be there but they took them and shredded them to pieces.”
She continued saying that her money was taken by the police officers when she was arrested but when she asked for it at her release, they refused to give it back.
“I had 10 note bundles when I was arrested, but when I asked for it upon my release, they said I have no right to take Ugandan Shillings to Rwanda. I left more than two million Ugandan Shillings at the station. It is considered a sin to step on Ugandan territory as a Rwandan and anyone who considered it should just know it is a very bad idea.”
Musabyimana Angelique, a resident of Nyabihu district said “Rwandans are treated like garbage in Uganda. I have been working in a salon for a year now but even the Ugandans I work with despise me. I once overheard a Ugandan soldier saying that if he was given a chance to have all the Rwandans living in Uganda in one room, he would pour gasoline on them and burn them. I have never felt the same way ever since.”
She said that when she was arrested, the police officers asked her for money but she refused to give it to them. Then, they forcefully took her mobile phone and asked her for her mobile money PIN code which she did not give. They took the phone anyway and when they brought it back, there was no money left on her account and they had replaced her SIM card with a non-functioning one.
“I asked them where was my money and they replied, I had nothing to claim as long as I was on Ugandan territory. Even if we were released, we are scared for the lives of hundreds of other Rwandans who are still being chased and tortured in Uganda”
Those who were released talked about how they were tortured and accused of hate crimes they never committed because anything that happens in a territory occupied by Rwandans in Uganda is blamed on them. All their belongings were stolen and their crops destroyed because they were told they had no right to own anything in Uganda. Some of them were also separated from their families.
Musanabera Clementine from Musanze district is married and have been living in Uganda for 19 years now. She says she was forcefully separated from her husband and her two children.
“On Monday night, we heard people banging on our door and when my husband opened, they told him to hand over the Rwandan sleeping in his house. He explained I had papers allowing me to live in Uganda but they would not listen. They forced me out of the house, naked, and my husband threw me a dress as they dragged me with them and threw me in a police truck with other Rwandans they had captured. They imprisoned us and released us today and said we were forgiven but I cannot live without my children.”
The released Rwandans say that as days go by, Rwandans continue to be inhumanely treated in Uganda and even those who purchased lands and houses are despises by Ugandans who reproach them daily of invading their territory. They strongly advise Rwandans who ever had even a slight thought about going to Uganda, to forget about it since they are unwanted.