The Story That Led to the Birth of Uganda-Rwanda Tension

BY: Eyalama In Politics On
- Updated

Note This Article Is Reflecting on a story that was published on Feb 19, 2017 by a Rwandan news agency known as Rushyashya .


On Feb 18,2017 Rwanda accuses President Yoweri Museveni of helping recruit and train Rwandan refugees with the goal of ousting Paul Kagame, according to a confidential report by Rwandan media.

In statements quoted by Rwandan news agency Rushyashya, pointed to the potential recruitment of refugees into non-state armed groups in Uganda led by a former head of Rwandan intelligence, Lieutenant-General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.

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Without evidence to pin Uganda to the allegations, Rushyashya claimed Rwanda’s leading diaspora-based opposition party, Rwanda National Congress (RNC) military bureau had assembled after its leaders met  President Museveni and held closed-door talks in France in the year 2016 to establish a training camp in Kijuru Forest which shares a border with Kibaale and Kyenjojo districts.

The report contained the strongest testimony yet that Uganda was meddling in Rwanda affairs and to make it believable to the Rwandese the report came at a time when there was worsening political fever ahead of Rwanda’s presidential elections in 2017 with Rwandans abroad will cast their votes on August 3, and those resident in Rwanda will follow suit on August 4.

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But a more prickly issue was that the Government of Uganda and its close-knit security agencies were aware of the rebel activities in Kibaale but had decided to do nothing about it.

Political analysts had ealier said that Kigali was watching the developments with the frosty relations between the two countries, following the military clashes between the RPF and UPDF in Kisangani, DR Congo in 1999/2000 still fresh in President Kagame’s mind.

The recruits were said to be at least 400 and that they were being trained in the forest by several French Armed Forces’ Land Army (French: Armée de terre [aʀme də tɛʀ]) and that they were instructed in the use of weapons including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

The report said that the recruits were transported from the Rwanda border with an unarmed military escort and that the combatants “reported that their ultimate goal was to remove Rwandan President Paul Kagame from power.”

According to the news agency when asked whether Uganda was helping Rwanda rebels launch cross-border attacks, the deputy executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Col (rtd) Shaban Bantariza is said to have refused to deny or confirm the allegations but instead referred the reporter to Uganda’s Defence and Military spokesman Brig Richard Karemire who repeatedly declined to answer our calls.

Rushyashya also said that two other planning meetings were held in Charleroi, Belgium and Dallas, US that also had some Burundian army dissidents resolved to recruit youth to be taken for these trainings in the Ugandan forests with the aim of destabilizing the security of Rwanda by spending a lot of money on the locals through associations.

According to this Rushyashya they claimed that an officer from one of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) intelligence units who preferred anonymity said they had also received reports about the Rwandan rebels who disguise as boda boda riders in Kibaale town.

According to sources in Rwanda, majority of the combatants were to come from Nyagatare, the largest and second most populous district (akarere) in Rwanda and other areas like Kayonza, Karangazi and Matimba. They left Rwanda under the disguise of fleeing from last year’s famine code-named ‘NZARAMBA’ back home and were welcomed by Kayumba’s agents after crossing the border at Cyanika in Kisoro District who transport them directly to Kibaale District.

Dr. Emmanuel Hakizimana based in the United States is reported one of the RNC external wing bosses sending funds to Kibaale

The reports continued to say that Kayumba Nyamwasa, a Ugandan military officer before 1990 and President Museveni were recently reunited by one of Rwanda’s wealthiest men, Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa(mentioned in yesterdays article where Kagame is asking Museveni to help him kick out Tribert out of Uganda), who the Ugandan leader has gave a go ahead to set up a $20m tobacco development investment 2017 in Arua, Northern Uganda.

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa was by the time exiled in South Africa, Tribert Rujugiro in Rwandese government’s mind’ was and still believed to be the main financier of Kayumba’s RNC rebel trainings alongside Washington-based chief strategist, Condo Gervias. Condo alongside Dr. Emmanuel Hakizamana do most of the diplomatic work, including looking for guns.

A former economic adviser of President Paul Kagame and strong supporter of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), Rujugiro fled Rwanda in 2009 after learning he was being investigated for quietly bankrolling the operations of anti-government groups in Rwanda and Diaspora.

In the month of Feb 2017, Gen David Muhoozi, who was appointed as the new Chief of Defence Forces,  in apparent reference to similar allegations from Kinshasa accusing Kampala of aiding M23 rebels, whose military commander Sultan Makenga, mysteriously vanished from a round-the-clock UPDF watch in Uganda,  said Uganda would never support belligerent forces to destabilise a neighbouring country.

Rwanda is due to hold a presidential election in August, which Kagame is widely expected to win. Presuming he is re-elected, a true test of Mr Kagame’s sincerity as a democrat will be his willingness to surrender power, as the constitution demands. Meanwhile he will be a formidable if fearsome operator, at home and abroad.

President Museveni’s old friend Tribert Rujugiro is believed by Rwandan government to be the main financier of Kayumba’s RNC rebel

A little about Gen Kayumba, Museveni and Kagame’s ex-top aide


Once a close confidant of President Paul Kagame, Nyamwasa fled to South Africa in 2010 after falling out with the Rwandan president, later accusing him of using an anti-corruption campaign to frame opponents.

The flight of Nyamwasa, who fought alongside Kagame to end the 1994 genocide in the central African nation, was a sign of a growing rift between the president and some of his top aides.

During and after the war to end the genocide, Nyamwasa held a number of key positions, including army chief of staff and head of the country’s intelligence services.

Rwandan authorities still link Nyamwasa to a series of deadly grenade attacks in Kigali on 19 February 2010, and accuse him of nepotism and unlawful accumulation of wealth.

President Kagame threatened to crack down on several top army dissidents’ activities in 2010 and Lt Gen Nyamwasa felt increasingly under threat.

“After my departure, President Kagame addressed a press conference where he labelled Patrick Karegeya and I as ‘terrorists’,” he said in a statement.

“While passing out cadet officers in Gako, he called us ‘thieves’.

“In parliament he called us ‘flies’ whom he will crush with a hammer; with [the magazine] Jeune Afrique he called me a ‘traitor’.”

Nyamwasa was shot in the stomach in South Africa in June 2010 Several people arrested after the shooting were found to be Rwandan. Kayumba was recorded to have said that Kagame wants him dead because he challenges his dictatorial views. Nyamwasa’s wife stated that the attack was politically motivated. Al-Jazeera reported that “Rosette said they were in the parking lot of their home and a man came to the side of the car with a pistol and shot at her husband who managed to get out of the car and then there was a scuffle. The driver of the car then chased the assailant away.”

So exactly how true were these Kayumba Nyamwasa rebel training allegations in Kibaale District, and whether they will to lead to further unrest is difficult to tell.

But with its troubled past, the role of President Museveni in Rwandan politics (it is widely said Museveni played a big role in the October 1990 RPF invasion of Rwanda and Kagame joined his NRA bush war on day one) should not be underestimated.


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