Having spent months in Uganda’s prisons, the Rwandans were deported by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) yesterday around 8pm and dropped at Rwanda, Uganda border.
One of them, Augustin Maboko who went to Uganda in 2007 was an ADEPR pastor in Kibale region. He told the media that they were arrested on 23rd July 2019 during a meeting at ADEPR premises in Uganda.
“We were arrested from the church in Kibuye, Kampala. We were 40 people attending the church’s meeting when we saw armed soldiers with handcuffs storming the church. We were put into a bus and took us to prison,” he said.
Two days later, they were asked what they did in the church and why they went to Uganda.
Maboko explained that they were blindfolded with masks during interrogations.
“We were a large number of prisoners from different countries," he said.
Maboko explained that three of 40 colleagues arrested together stayed in prison while others were released shortly because they either had Ugandan identifications or were born in Uganda.
He said ADEPR leaders were hunted since February 2019 saying Ugandan officials were frustrated with the church’s presence in the country.
Jean de la Paix Bareke, 28, hailing from Mulindi sector in Gicumbi district was arrested on 12th June 2019 as he went to buy clothes in Uganda.
Shortly after buying clothes, he was asked to present identification and taken to Kisoro prison realizing that he was a Rwandan.
He spent one night at Kisoro along with other Rwandans arrested before. They were all transferred to Mbarara and later to headquarters of Uganda’s CMI.
“They asked me whether I never served in the military which I denied. They told me that I will face tougher punishment if investigations confirm that I was a soldier,” Bareke narrated.
Two months later, Bareke explained, came two people speaking Kinyarwanda who interrogated them and made records in a statement.
Deportees advised Rwandans not to travel to the country considering colleagues left in Uganda without consular access.
The Rwandans are released a few days ahead of scheduled meeting between Rwanda and Uganda’s officials to discuss implementation of recently signed agreements to put an end to political fallout.