In the recent weeks, there have been isolated reports in the media alleging that the government of Uganda harbors hostile intentions against neighbouring Rwanda.
The media stories peddle false narratives ranging from plans by Uganda to topple Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, to an underground rebel recruitment in Uganda to ‘destabilize’ Rwanda and to allegations that Kampala is deliberately sidelining individuals known to have good relations with Kigali.
But an investigation by this website has come to learn that this alleged hostility is nothing but calculated propaganda against Uganda, with the government of Rwanda as the main architect to divert the world from kidnap of Rwandan refugees.
One such story alleged that the two states negotiated and signed an extradition treaty to repatriate Rwanda dissidents and refugees but that Uganda has since refused to ratify it.
The propaganda further described the recent clean up of Uganda Police Force by President Yoweri Museveni to rid it of criminals, as a manhunt by Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, Director of Internal Security Organisation (ISO) Brig Francis Kaka and Head of Military Intelligence Brig Gen Abel Kandiho, of police officers accused of collaborating with Rwandan intelligence to kidnap and illegally repatriate Rwandan refugees living in Uganda.
Rwanda has also levied false accusations against officers within Ugandan security of moving and training militants closer to the border of Rwanda to launch a military attack. But by their hierarchical position, the said officers cannot conduct such a grand operation without drawing the attention of the rest of Uganda and the region.
Diversion from illegal acts
SoftPower News has however learnt from credible sources that central to this propaganda is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the government of Rwanda has deeply infiltrated Uganda Police Force and used it to systemically conduct illegal repatriations of Rwandan nationals seeking asylum in Uganda.
Highly placed reliable sources in Uganda have disclosed that numerous refugees of Rwandan origin have disappeared and others killed with the collaboration of the Uganda Police chief, Gen Kale Kayihura. The evidence is damning, they say.
Over the years, Rwanda has managed to facilitate a network within the Police establishment that enables it to have its critics and opponents unlawfully picked up from Uganda.
While there have been reports that the two countries’ police chiefs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to legitimize the repatriation of Rwandan asylum seekers in Uganda, SoftPower News has found no proof of such an agreement. Moreover, a mere MOU would not be sufficient and lawful basis to extradite Rwandan nationals from Uganda back to Rwanda. This begs the question – on which grounds are these individuals being dragged back to a country where they feel insecure?
The source that preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter revealed that Rwanda has been using its diplomatic channels to secretly sustain the illegal syndicated operations.
“The Rwandan Embassy in Kampala has a ‘Police Attaché’ identified as Ismail Baguma who is a close confidant to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura and frequents the IGP’s office in Naguru,” a source intimated.
The source said that Baguma wields lots of power and is feared by other senior officers of the Uganda Police Force on account of his closeness to the IGP. He recently interrogated a Ugandan journalist from Uganda Police Force headquarters in Naguru and later at the Rwandan Embassy, all facilitated by Uganda Police, which is outrageous and unacceptable.
Baguma acts as the conduit between the state of Rwanda through the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Uganda Police Force to coordinate kidnappings of targets, some of whom have ended up dead.
“Does being friendly to Rwanda imply permitting the rampant criminality on our territory?” our source wondered.
In the absence of the said Memorandum of Understanding or the internationally acknowledged protocol, the illegal repatriation of such persons from Uganda where they had fled to for safety back to Rwanda violates international law. Kidnap of refugees is part of a wider systemic approach of repression by Rwanda’s security agencies including the country’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Rwanda Patriotic Army agents to silence political opponents world over.
Months ago, there was an incident in Nakivale refugee camp in Isingiro district where a refugee was attacked by unknown people and killed. Police later reported the attack as a robbery saying the assailants wanted to rob Shs 38 million from the deceased. The claim by Police lacked credibility as such a poor refugee would not possess such amounts of money.
In 2011, a Rwandan journalist named Charles Ingabire was shot and killed at a bar along Martin Road in Old Kampala by a one Rene Rutagungira, a Rwandan operative recently arrested by Uganda. Ingabire was an Editor of an online news publication called ‘Inyenyeri’ in Rwanda and was a known government critic. His assassination was executed at the orders of Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen James Kabarebe, our sources revealed.
Several other Rwandan victims have disclosed to SoftPower News that their relatives, spouses and loved ones have been taken away never to be seen again. Some recount armed people kidnapping their closed ones.
Another high placed source speaking on condition of anonymity said that in 2015, Rwanda’s Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana met with Gen Kale Kayihura at White Horse Inn Hotel in Kabale near Rwanda border, together with Ugandan Police operatives including Ali Kabanda, formerly attached to the Uganda Police Flying Squad and Special Investigations Department. During the meeting, our source revealed, Rwanda’s IGP Gasana rewarded 5 Ugandan police operatives USD 1,000 each for ‘a job well done‘.
“They had illegally repatriated some Rwandans from Nakivale refugee camp and Kampala. Kayihura shook the operatives’ hands in gratitude. He had earlier in the day ordered for transportation of tents from Kamapala that were erected at the hotel’s compound for purposes of the meeting with Gasana. Kayihura did not want to hold the meeting inside the hotel just in case the hotel was bugged. Ali Kabanda has since disappeared from Uganda,” our source said.
The secret network within Uganda’s Police Force could however disentangle soon or later, following the recent arrests of Senior Police officers, many of who carried out similar illegal operations at the orders of IGP Kayihura.
Nine officers were arrested by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) for charges that include conspiracy with Rwanda to illegally repatriate Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and others. Mutabazi was in 2013 reportedly kidnapped and handed over to Rwandan security operatives at a secluded location near Rwanda border.
“We have more terrorism threats in Somalia and Kenya than Rwanda but those countries have no Police Attachés that attempt illegalities with Ugandan Police Force. What terror threat does Uganda pose to Rwanda to warrant the deployment of Ismail Baguma apart from kidnap of refugees?” the source asked.
“The source further revealed that; “Baguma is always in Gen Kayihura’s office coordinating all the killings of refugees in Uganda. He [Kayihura] should explain the presence of Baguma in his office 24/7 apart from infiltrating Uganda’s security agencies and communication facilities.”
Pushed to the edge
With the recent clampdown on IGP Kayihura henchmen whom he has always used to execute the dirty work for Rwanda, the Kigali administration worries that Kayihura could be the next in queue to face prosecution and the dark bubble could burst. That the military has cracked the whip on the criminal – infiltrated police puts both Kayihura and Rwanda in a difficult position.
That would mean Rwanda losing grip on infiltration of the security apparatus in Uganda through Police. The Rwandan state is aware that Uganda’s Intelligence boss Brig Gen Kandiho and ISO Director Brig Kaka are known to be principled and can not be compromised to cooperate with Rwanda on illegalities.
Kayihura is very close to President Paul Kagame. He is also a relative of Gen Jack Nziza, the recently retired Inspector General of Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) and a close military confidant of President Kagame. The Rwandan leader was the best man during Kayihura’s wedding and their families have since developed a strong relationship, perhaps explaining why Gen Kayihura may have divided loyalty between Uganda and Rwanda.
Our sources say that for Rwanda to continue falsely concocting propaganda that projects Uganda in bad light is to take Ugandan government’s anti-propaganda policy on its neighbors, generosity and humanitarian approach to Rwanda for granted.
“Rushyasha, a newspaper owned by Rwandan intelligence agencies has been publishing tarnishing stories against Uganda’s government and leadership although Uganda has chosen not to revert as use of propaganda against its neighbors is not Uganda’s culture. Similar stories have been published by Rwanda’s Igihe,” the highly placed sources said.
“There are many and better mechanisms available for Rwanda to handle their concerns, if any than using propaganda. Uganda has no issues with Rwanda and the people of Rwanda are aware of their historic ties with Uganda’s leadership and its Pan African outlook. Nobody can deny or take that away, ” the source added.
According to our sources, Rwanda’s former Joint Chief of Intelligence, Brig Gen Dan Munyuza who is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Rwandan Police in charge of operations, recently falsified a document to implicate President Museveni’s brother Gen Salim Saleh (Rtd) in an alleged deal to provide security to Rwandan tycoon Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro for 15% interest. This, our sources add, is part of a plot to spread harmful propaganda and justify Rwanda’s touted falsehoods that President Museveni is Rwanda’s biggest enemy.
“We were shocked to learn that General Kabarebe, under instructions of his boss, was spreading harmful propaganda against President Museveni. Has Kabarebe forgotten where he came from? Or does he think that Rwandese can easily forget Uganda’s support for their struggle to return to their motherland when the rest of the world looked on. How in the world can Uganda turn around to support rebellion against Rwanda, a country whose excesses we have tolerated for the sake of peace and the bigger picture of regional integration?” another source wondered.
Langi community petition President Museveni on Anguma’s prosecution
joel Aguma is one of the senior Ugandan Police commissioners recently arrested over illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees. Last week, the Langi community petitioned President Museveni over Aguma’s arrest and prosecution saying Aguma was only acting on orders and instructions of Gen Kale Kayihura who has not been prosecuted yet he closely supervised Aguma’s operations. Museveni asked the Langi community to be patient and let the law take its course.
Will Gen Kayihura be prosecuted?
“Gen Kayihura knows very well what has been happening and he should accept that he committed deliberate mistakes. It is a crime to repatriate refugees without going through courts of law. He has the option to confess and apologize to the families of the victims, but this is also dangerous because he is now also a captive of Rwandan agencies who have taken over the security of his children who work in Kigali,” a source told SoftPower News.
Victims of illegalities petition Parliament
Last week, a group of disgruntled victims (of Rwandan descent) petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, raising an alarm over their continued state of fear of possible kidnap by the government of Rwanda with the help of elements in Uganda’s Police Force.
Some have had their families disintegrate, lost their loved ones while others tell tales of individuals who have been forced to turn against their relatives and later inform on them. These peoples had lost patience and resorted to taking the issue to Parliament despite the threat that this could expose them to.
“We the undersigned representatives of Rwandan Asylum seekers and Refugees in Uganda have decided to petition you and through you the Parliament of Uganda, about the continuous repressive activities by some security agents from Rwanda acting in liaison with some of their security colleagues from within Uganda,” a petition lodged by 6 victims on November 29 to Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah reads in part.
In the petition seen by this site, they say Rwandan refugees have been targets of abortive and successful assassinations, abductions, disappearances in many countries, including Uganda, DRC, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Petitioners presented a list of 21 people of Rwandan descent many of whom were killed in the year 2010 in Uganda’s Nakivale refugee settlement centre. Some of these were reportedly brutalized and killed by Ugandan police officers and Rwandan Government agents.
“In 2013, Ndahiro Bosco, a Ugandan citizen of Rwandan origin and a husband to Barungi Phiona (one of the signatories to the petition) was kidnapped and murdered in Kigali. Her efforts to directly engage Gen Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police were futile as he expressed no interest in the search of her husband,” petitioners wrote.
Their demands include “immediate unequivocal assurances from IGP Gen Kale Kayihura that the arbitrary arrests, torture/harassment, murder and illegal deportation of Rwandan refugees by Rwandan agents will not happen again and that refugees in general are unreservedly assured of their security”.
They also demand that Gen Kayihura presents to Parliament the “fake” extradition agreement with Rwanda, upon which he has been arbitrarily arresting, harassing and illegally deporting Rwandans. They want Kayihura and his officers investigated on their role or culpability in these serious crimes and abuses of their offices.
“We request that you make detailed investigations into this matter and under which circumstances or authority Rwandan refugees have been illegally extradited back to Rwanda,” they further pleaded with the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda.
Tale of a victim
One of the victims, who lost her husband identified as Bosco Ndahiro Adams, a Rwandan by descent but born and raised in Uganda says that her trouble began with a meeting with President Museveni in 2005 over family matters. When Rwandan intelligence discovered about the meeting, she was arrested upon her return to Kigali where she was working at the time.
She fled Rwanda after being tipped off on an eminent arrest for having links with Uganda. Later, she married Ndahiro. But this would land her into another arrest in South Africa together with her husband on allegations that they were involved in the assassination attempt of Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, an exiled political dissident of Rwanda, f0rmely Chief of Staff of RPA from 1998 to 2002.
“My husband continued to receive threatening calls from the Rwandan intelligence. One day, he got a text message saying: ‘..Uganda is not heaven, we can still find you there..’. He showed me the message, feeling frightened, I asked him to report to the Police but he refused saying there is no way he can report such things to the Ugandan Police as it would cause him more problems,” the victim’s testimony reads in part.
She says Ndahiro was on two occasions arrested by the Ugandan Police on grounds unknown to her. Later on, she adds, Ndahiro was convinced by a one Michael Byusa, a nephew to President Kagame to go to Kigali for business and that was the last time his wife saw him.
She claims she reported the matter to both the Ugandan Embassy in Kigali and the IGP Gen Kayihura with no help.
But Rwandan media claim that Rwandan refugees in Uganda are fabricating stories, faking kidnap and persecution to portray Rwanda as hostile to refugees in Uganda to attract the attention of rights groups