Ugandan officers charged with abducting Rwanda refugees

2019-01-10 09:41


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Eight Ugandan security officers have been charged in a military court with abducting and illegally repatriating Rwandan asylum seekers to Kigali, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

The men, among them a military colonel and seven police officers, are suspected of involvement in forcibly handing over former security officer Joel Mutabazi and his brother Jackson Kalemera to Kigali in 2013.

The two men had been granted asylum in Uganda and Human Rights Watch at the time accused the Kampala of having "utterly failed" to protect Mutabazi, who was at "serious risk" of persecution in his home country.

"The eight officers, one a military officer and seven police officers appeared before the general court martial and were charged with abducting and repatriating Rwandan asylum seekers from Uganda without authorisation," military prosecutor Major Raphael Magezi told AFP.

Arrested in June 2018, the eight were present at the court hearing, which took place on Tuesday, he said.

After being sent back to Kigali, Mutabazi - who was formerly one of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's bodyguards - was imprisoned on terrorism and murder charges and is currently serving a life sentence.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook.

And his brother Kalemera disappeared after charges against him were dropped in 2015.

Opposition dissidents believe he was murdered.

Ugandan political scientist Mwambutsya Ndebesa told AFP the court case was a further sign of frosty relations between Uganda and Rwanda.

"It is a warning sign to Rwanda to stay away from meddling in Uganda's internal affairs," he said.

There have long been complex ties between the two countries, with Uganda hosting Rwandan refugees since an outbreak of ethnic violence in 1959 in which thousands of Tutsis were killed or fled the country.

One of those refugees was Kagame, who went on to serve as spy chief for Uganda's Yoweri Museveni before joining a rebel force which captured Kigali and ended the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, were killed.

Ties between Kampala and Kigali soured during the war in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, with their two armies facing off in northeastern DRC in 2000.

In recent years, accusations of espionage by Uganda, and Rwandan claims Kampala is backing anti-Kagame rebel groups have further chilled ties.

Read more on:    uganda  |  rwanda  |  east africa  |  refugees

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.