Police has said that it is set to charge the detained 43 Rwandan refugees with terrorism among other serious crimes.
The group which was arrested from the Kikagati border in Isingiro district on their way to a Christian fellowship in Tanzania over alleged forgery have now been accused of terrorism, according to Police spokesperson, SSP Emilian Kayima.
On December 11, the group set off from Uganda in a bus for Tanzania and had been cleared by immigration officials at the border. No sooner had they crossed into Tanzania than police authorities from Uganda stopped them and ordered them to drive back to Uganda.
They were later arrested, detained shortly at Isingiro police station in South West of Uganda and then detained at Rwizi in Mbarara district before being taken to Nalufenya police detention facility in Jinja district.
At first, Police had accused them of having ties with ADF but later when contacted by this website, Kayima said they possessed fake travel documents.
Rwanda Goverment in a 9 December 2017 diplomatic note to Uganda expressed interest in having “the group of refugees who moved to Tanzania from different refugee settlements in Uganda investigated.”
Rwanda also accused Uganda of facilitating the Movement of the refugees who the country claims are RNC terrorist rebels. Uganda Police Force terror charge against the refugees reinforces the narrative by Rwanda but also raises the question – in whose interest the Uganda Police Force serves. Does the Force take orders from Rwanda?
Today, Police issued a statement saying that the 43 were neither Rwandan refugees nor innocent.
“The suspects are not Rwandan refugees. Based on the evidence on record and by their own admission, they are Rwandan nationals who migrated to Uganda and were living in different parts of the country before their arrest,” the statement by SSP Kayima read.
Kayima was responding to an article carried by Daily Monitor on Wednesday titled “45 Rwandan refugees held over rebel links”.
According to Police, “these individuals are not innocent” since they were arrested at the border “traveling with forged documents and on false identities”.
“Later, after questioning, Police has found out that they [suspects] are culpable of more serious offences than forgery including terrorism,” the statement adds.
The statement does not say where in Uganda the Rwandan refugees previously committed terrorism or if they intended to commit the offence in Tanzania.
Police says it has completed its investigations pending perusal and prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
In the wake of the arrests, questions arose among them why Police chose to hold the suspects of fake documents in the infamous Nalufenya detention facility.
But in response, Police says there is nothing wrong with detaining the refugees in Nalufenya.
“Nalufenya is a gazetted detention where suspects either of high profile crimes or who can not be handled by one region because of jurisdiction are kept,” Kayima said.
They say the suspects are being kept in Nalufenya for two reasons – committing high profile crimes and the fact that these crimes were committed in different parts of Uganda. Police does not say which particular crimes the detainees separately committed nor explain why they had not apprehended them earlier for the alleged crimes.
Kayima has asserted that for the media to continue to refer to Nalufenya as a “dreaded police facility” is malicious and should stop, saying that suspects’ human rights have always been respected.
But Police’s dismissal of the fact that Nalufenya is dreaded is in sharp contradiction with findings of a report compiled by human rights lawyer, Landislaus Rwakafuzi on testimonies of suspects held at Nalufenya.
The 13 persons suspected to have killed former police spokesperson Andrew Kaweesi narrated nasty experiences including beating, being drowned, being chained, forced to drink urine and other torturous acts to force them to confess.
The report handed to Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) also indicated that one of the suspects was suffocated to death. One suspect Aramanzani Higenyi, 32 testified that on the day the UHRC team visited Nalufenya, all prisoners who had wounds were evacuated.