Rwandan deported from Uganda narrates ordeal

On 27 August 2019 at 08:08

Albert Imanizabayo from Kagogo sector, Burera district of Northern Province has been the latest Rwandan deported from Uganda following months of imprisonment and torture.

He was released on 24th August 2019 and dropped to Rwanda’s border.

Imanizabayo went to Uganda in August 2018 to attend a market in Kisoro where he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured on the accusation of being Rwanda’s spy.

Speaking to the media, the deportee said that he was arrested on the way back home and told that his travel document expired.

Imanizabayo was arrested on 11th August and taken to court on 13th August 2019 where he was handed 1-year sentence. He was then taken to Kabale prison where he spent three weeks and later transferred to Gihihi prison in Kanungu.

As he narrated, they endured hard labor and beats on several occasions, tilling gardens, transporting woods and stones on heads among others.

One thing Imanizabayo said he won’t forget, is the hot casserole containing hot food for inmates which he was forced to carry on head leaving wounds which he endured for six months.

Imanizabayo testified that he left many Rwandans being mistreated in different prisons.

“I left over 100 Rwandans detained in Kabale while more 58 Rwandans of whom only 30 were convicted. We were subjected to hard labor mainly Rwandans while Ugandans would have time to rest and interact with prison warders,” he said.

Imanizabayo advised Rwandans against traveling to Uganda lest they experience similar troubles.

It has been over two years after Rwanda, Uganda’s relations worsened.

Uganda has been deporting different Rwandans who accuse it of inhumane imprisonment and torture on false accusations by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and rebel groups against the Government of Rwanda.

Over 900 Rwandans have been reportedly detained in Uganda which saw the Government of Rwanda advising Rwandans not to travel to Uganda for their security until the situation gets back to normal.

Rwanda also accuses Uganda of conspiracy with rebel groups intending to destabilize state security.

On 22nd August 2019, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and his counterpart of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at restoring both countries relations back to normal.

The agreement called for the two parties to refrain from engaging in actions that destabilize the other party (or actions perceived to) such as financing, training, and infiltration of destabilizing forces.

The agreement also calls on both countries to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of nationals of the other party residing or transiting in their national territory.

Both countries were also expected to resume cross-border activities, including the movement of persons and goods.

Following the signing of the pact, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the state minister for East African Community in told the media that all Rwandans who were illegally arrested in Uganda should be freed in the spirit of the signed agreement before the government of Rwanda lifts the travel advisory on Rwandans traveling to Uganda.

Since the agreements were signed, Uganda never released Rwandans arbitrarily detained and blocked access to different Rwandan-based news websites.

Imanizabayo testified that he left many Rwandans being mistreated in different prisons.