“We were mistreated and fed on cooked maize seeds in custody”: Ugandans Deported From Rwanda Narrate Ordeal

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Five Ugandans who were deported after a week-long detention in Rwanda have narrated the ordeal they went through. They are Gilbert Beingana, Amos Tibesigwa and Nicholas Tumwesigye, all residents of Ndorwa West County in Kabale district and Ivan Nirinyiyimana and Beatha Nyiramuco, both from Kisoro district.

The five were arrested for illegal entry into Rwanda last week and locked up in Rwanda. They were dumped by Rwandan security at Chanika border in Kisoro district on Tuesday morning. A statement  issued on Tuesday morning by Francois Regis Gatarahiya, the Director General of Immigration and Emigration in Rwanda, says the five were deported because they were prohibited Immigrants in Rwanda.

Rwanda deports three Ugandans over illegal entry
Rwanda deports three Ugandans over illegal entry

URN spoke to the deportees. Amos Tibesigwa, one of the victims says that he was intercepted by security operatives in Rwanda November 11, 2019 and tasked to explain why he had entered the country. According to Tibesigwa, he was beaten and taken to Kivuye in Burera district where he was detained.

Tibesigwa says security operatives kicked him and hit him using their guns while in detention. He says the operatives repeatedly asked him why he had crossed to Rwanda. Tibesigwa, who told URN that he was feeling a lot of pain in the ribs, says they were only fed on cooked maize twice during their entire detention.

Nicholas Tumwesigye, another deportation victim believes that they were saved from death when his brother, Gideon Turyatunga raised the matter to Ugandan security officials and media and his step father, a top Police officer in Rwanda National Police begged for their release.

Gilbert Beingana, another victim says that he had never experienced suffering like what he was subjected to in custody in Rwanda. According to Beingana, the security operatives would beat them whenever they felt like. He says they were driven from Kivuye to Chanika on Monday and spent the night in detention until Tuesday when they were released and ordered never to return to Rwanda.

Last week, two Ugandan traders, Bosco Tuheirwe and Job Ebyarishanga were shot dead about 1km away from the Mpororo border post in Kamwezi Sub County, Rukiga district. Rwanda police claimed that the two were shot when they assaulted police officers.

Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda in February 2019 to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs at Gatuna border.  Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills.

President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas. Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress-RNC and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda FDLR, which have declared war on the Kigali government.

Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety.

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