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Eight Ugandan security officers have been charged in a military court with abducting
and illegally repatriating Rwandan asylum seekers to Kigali, a prosecutor said
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
“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.
And his brother Kalemera disappeared after charges against him were dropped
Opposition dissidents believe he was murdered.
Ugandan political scientist Mwambutsya Ndebesa told whisper eye media team
that the court case was a further sign of frosty relations between Uganda and
“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.