January 20, 2020

Uganda Frees Police Officers Accused of Illegal Deporting “Rwandan Refugees”

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Gen Kale Kayihura, former Uganda Police chief arrested over alleged kidnap and deportation of Rwandan refugees.

A military court in Kampala, Uganda has on Monday surprisingly granted bail to four senior police officers after nearly two year in jail for among other charges, the kidnap and deportation of Rwandan refugees.

The 4 were arrested along with former Uganda police chief Gen Kale Kayihura in mid 2018. They are accused of failing to protect war materials, issuing guns to unauthorized people, and aiding the kidnap and repatriation of Rwandan exiles, refugees plus the kidnap of Ugandan citizens.

Gen Kayihura was granted bail a few months later. However, this case opened a pandora’s box that nobody expected, as it had reverberations across the region.

Earlier in August 2017, the first Rwandan René Rutagungira had been arrested. More Rwandans were arrested in subsequent months.

Rutagungira was actually presented in military court for the first time together with the four police officers. All were charged together in the military court martial.

Among the “Rwandan refugees” they allegedly kidnapped and sent to Rwanda without knowledge and authorisation of the Ugandan government is Lt Joel Mutabazi. He is former bodyguard to President Paul Kagame, who was wanted in Rwanda for plotting to assassinate Kagame.

Mutabazi’s case was settled recently and is to be in jail for the rest of his life. Uganda says many other Rwandans were deported in similar manner.

Though unrelated, the release of the 9 Rwandans recently including René Rutagungira by the same court, as part of peace settlement with Rwanda, could have led to decision to act on the Ugandan suspects in same case.

With Gen Kayihura out, and his co-accused also out, reports have been circulating in Uganda that Kayihura may soon be deployed for work by President Museveni. It could spell end of the cases, even if they are out of bail.

The police officers released today are Senior commissioner of Police Joel Aguma, former Flying Squad Unit commander Herbert Muhangi, Detective ASP James Magada and Detective Corporal Amon Kwarisima.

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