Rwanda denies involvement in attempts to kidnap dissidents in Uganda

Friday August 23 2013

Ambassador Mugambagye addresses the press at a past function. Photo/File

Rwandan refugees in Uganda who claim their lives are in danger are terrorists and Kigali should not be held responsible for their whereabouts, the government has said.

Rwandan intelligence operatives have recently been put on the spot for allegedly persecuting Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda thought to possess vital information, something which the Kigali government vehemently denies.

Innocent Kalisa, a former employee of the presidential guard in Kigali and now a refugee in Uganda has gone missing and the Rwandan government says it has nothing to explain on the whereabouts of fellows who are in bed with genocidaires.

On its official website, the government says: “I have heard of Innocent Kalisa but this is the first I am hearing of him disappearing. He is known to be involved with RNC (Rwanda National Congress) dissidents and FDLR (Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda) genocidaires in DRC, a network responsible for terrorist acts in Rwanda including the recent grenade bomb in Kigali last month that killed three and injured 30.”

READ: Survivors remember the Nyabugogo grenade attack

RNC is a political organisation based in South Africa that was formed by President Paul Kagame’s former right-hand soldiers now in exile among them Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, Col Patrick Kalegyeya and Theogene Rudasingwa.    


Government issued a statement to clarify its position about the continued disappearance of its former intelligence operatives now in exile amid growing speculation that Kigali authorities are behind the attempted assassinations and kidnappings.

Referring to the disappearance of Mr Kalisa, the government statement reads; “We have raised these concerns with authorities in countries hosting individuals belonging to this network RNC/FDLR. Other than knowing the terrorism activities he has been involved in I don’t see why the government of Rwanda should be held responsible for his whereabouts, particularly when he doesn’t even live in Rwanda.”

Last week, Rwanda was once again dragged into the kidnap and assassination fiasco when along with Ugandan police, it was accused of kidnapping and trying to extradite one Joel Mutabazi, also a former body guard of Kagame now living as a refugee in Uganda.

Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda Maj Gen Frank Mugambage said that allegation of kidnapping of Rwanda refugees in Uganda by Rwanda’s clandestine operatives are false.

“Rwandan government does not engage in kidnapping of people, it has never and will never carry out such an act,” said Mr Mugambage.

However, Mr Mugambage declined to give further details regarding the abduction of Mr Mutabazi referring this paper to Uganda police who are in a better position to talk about the case.

Uganda police has dismissed allegations that it arrested Lt Mutabazi using fake Interpol arrest warrants as reported in the media.

Patrick Onyango, the Deputy Police spokesperson, said that Interpol Kigali requested Interpol Kampala to assist in locating the whereabouts of the suspect, arrest him and extradite him to Kigali, in accordance with the law, to face trial for the offences committed.

“There was, therefore, no abduction, kidnap or use of fake Interpol warrant of arrest as alleged by a section of the media. This was a routine request from Interpol, which was subject to due process, and a decision made based on the laws of Uganda, and relevant International Conventions to which Uganda is party,” said Mr Onyango.

The Kigali Interpol request indicated that Lt Mutabazi is a Rwandan national, who is wanted by Rwanda National Police for the offence of armed robbery committed in 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Lt Mutabazi and others, while armed with three sub-machine guns (AK-47 assault rifles) attacked Banque de Kigali, Remera branch and stole Rwf10,000,000. Two suspects were later arrested while Lt. Mutabazi escaped to an unknown destination.

The abductions have forced the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Uganda to get concerned thus declaring its position.

The agency questioned the Ugandan government’s commitment to its obligations under international law to assure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers.

“UNHCR is sending a strong protest note to the Ugandan government over the recent spate of abductions of refugees and asylum seekers and the assassination attempts on Joel Mutabazi by people who appear to be non-Ugandans,” UNHCR spokesperson Kitty Mckinsey said.

It is also reported that last year Lt Mutabazi escaped an assassination attempt by unknown gunmen.

Although critics have accused Rwanda, it remains unclear who was behind the act.