Rwandans tortured in Uganda on allegations of spreading coronavirus

On 31 March 2020 at 07:01

As the world struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus, Rwandans continue to be tortured in Uganda on allegations of travelling to Uganda to spread the virus.

Rwandans who were violently beaten and tortured by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) are currently being treated at Byumba hospital in the Northern Province.

On March 22nd, 2020, Uganda confirmed its first case of coronavirus. He is a 36-year-old Ugandan who arrived in Uganda from Dubai. Currently, Uganda reports 33 cases of coronavirus. While patient zero was a Ugandan, the country continues to blame Rwandans for spreading the virus.

Nambajimana Emmanuel and Nshimyumukiza Michael who were tortured in Uganda and are currently receiving medical care at Byumba hospital arrived in Rwanda on March 29th after they were dumped at the border by the CMI.

They had been selling honey for two years in Jinja, Eastern Uganda.

Nambajimana said that after the outbreak of coronavirus, trade activities stopped and they decided to come back home "Our vehicle was intercepted midway by the CMI and they started accusing us of having been sent by the government of Rwanda to spread coronavirus."

He confirmed he was beaten beyond imagination and injured. "We explained that we had been doing business in Uganda for 2 years and that we haven’t recently been to Rwanda but they wouldn’t listen to us."

Nambajimana said that although they only said they were bringing them to the border, they instead brought them at the CMI headquarters and started torturing them. "After they dumped us at the border, herdsmen on the side of Rwanda saw us and brought us to hospital."

Nshimyumukiza Michael who was also severely tortured is receiving medical care at Byumba hospital. He said that after he was tortured, the CMI stole 2 million shillings he had on him as well as other belongings.

Last week, 342 other Rwandans were dumped at the borders in Burera and Gicumbi in thr Northern Province. They were also accused of having been sent to spread coronavirus.

The CMI has reportedly started hunting down Rwandans on allegations of spreading the virus when no tests were conducted whatsoever.

Rwandans who were dumped on borders are predominantly merchants who conducted business in Kisoro, Gahenerezo close to Burera in North Rwanda. They arrived in Rwanda on Sunday, March 29th, 2020 and have been quarantined for 14 days as the ministry of health directives dictate.

Gatabazi JMV, Northern Province Governor said that Rwandans were accused of spreading coronavirus in Uganda since patient zero was identified on March 14th, 2020. It is reported that Uganda’s military strictly forbids Rwandans from crossing over to Uganda ever since.

"They used the virus as a motive to chase Rwandans starting from those who lived in Kabale and Kisoro."

Among the 342 people who were dumped on borders are a Congolese citizen and 2 Ugandans who were mistaken for being Rwandans. They are also quarantined along with Rwandan citizens. They are assisted daily with essential needs while the quarantine lasts.

As the world struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus, Rwandans continue to be tortured in Uganda on allegations of travelling to Uganda to spread the virus.