Rwandan tortured in Uganda accused of working with Gen Kayihura narrates ordeal

On 2 May 2019 at 10:00

The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence in Uganda continues to arrest and torture Rwandans who are running business in the country.

Arrests of Rwandans in Uganda began in 2017. Some of them were arrested and tortured while others were illegally deported to Rwanda.

Statistics from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the beginning of March 2019 revealed that over 900 Rwandans were illegally expelled from Uganda.

Hakorimana Venant Musoni is among those expelled from Uganda recently after torture from Uganda’s security officials.

He went to Uganda to work for a project of Save the Children, later married a Ugandan woman and got nationality in the country.

His job contract from the project of Save the Children ended in 2012, and afterward got another job in the country.

Hakorimana later went to Ethiopia for a job of teaching from where he used to return to Uganda to visit his family, friends and follow up his agriculture projects, among others.

Talking to the media, Hakorimana has said that he was arrested on 12th July 2018 by Uganda’s security officials at Seb International Hotel in Kampala city where he had spent a night expecting to return to Mbarara the next morning.

"Security officials came and knocked on the door of my room early in the morning. I thought they were hotel workers bringing breakfast as we had agreed the previous evening,” he said.

“I opened and saw people in military uniforms with some wearing civilian clothes but they all had guns. They immediately beat and wounded me. I had USD11, 000, 700 and some balance of Ugandan shillings that I kept after paying the hotel," adds Hakorimana.

He narrated that all his possessions were taken along with his two phones and laptop.

"They hit me in the head with the gun’s butt and I started bleeding. I tried to raise the alarm, I was seeing a security guard at the hotel but he never intervened. No one came to my rescue until they took me in their car. I didn’t identify who they were immediate, for I was blindfolded until they took me to an office where I have informed the reason of my arrest and asked to tell the truth," narrates Hakorimana.

They started accusing him of working with former Uganda Police Chief Gen. Kale Kayihura and for being a Rwandan spy.

"I told them that I don’t know Kayihura that I never met him but they insisted and forced me to accept that I used to meet him in the office, “said Bikorimana.

In March 2018, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni sacked Kale Kayihura as police chief after he had served for 13 years.

On 13th June 2018, Kayihura was arrested, accused of failure to manage war materiel, facilitating abductions and deportation of Rwandan refugees to Rwanda.

Hakorimana narrated that he was taken to Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence upon his arrest and jailed in a cave where he was seriously beaten into comatose.

He was taken in a room the next day where he was accused of working with Gen. Kayihura.

Hakorimana was repeatedly beaten with sticks, shocked with electricity whenever he was on an interrogation.

"They used to beat us every day from morning until evening. One could breathe only when they were interrogating others," he narrated.

"I got chronic backache because they held me for three weeks in a facility letting the air blow inside so that I could confess what they imposed on me. I was incarcerated near the office of people who interrogated me," added Hakorimana.

He spent almost a year in the facility where other Rwandans were jailed on different accusations including working with Kayihura.

Hakorimana said he was once asked to write a will before they kill him.

"They told me, ‘Write how your children will share your properties because you must die today since you are concealing the truth’. Realizing that the man was serious with the threats, I asked him a moment to pray before killing me," he narrated.

Hakorimana was not taken to court but was handed a two-year sentence.

On 25th March 2019, the court informed him that he was being accused of illegal entry and stay in Uganda and was taken to Luzira prison.

On 29th March 2019, he was taken to court and informed that he was discharged of illegal entry case. He returned to court on 4th April when he explained that he always crossed to Uganda legally.

Hakorimana also told the judge that he was tortured and detained for nine months illegally that he has a family to look after.

The court rejected his request and handed him a two-year sentence or to pay a fine of 1 million Ugandan shillings. He was taken back to Ruzira prison.

He later found a person who was released from the same prison who helped him to pay the fine on 24th April 2019. He was then released and went to Rwanda’s embassy which provided transport that brought him to Rwanda.

He never received all his properties that were taken when he was arrested.

The Government of Rwanda has recently advised Rwandans not to travel to Uganda for their security until the situation was back to normal.