Court in Mbarara presided over by Grade One Magistrate Daphine Nayebare has remanded 45 Rwandan nationals over terrorism charges to Mbarara Central Prison till January 15, 2018.
The group, which had stayed for over two weeks at Nalufenya police detention center, arrived in a police bus at Mbarara magistrate’s court amidst tight security on Thursday evening a few minutes to 6.00 pm.
They were immediately ushered in court and charges were read to them by Magistrate Nayebare.
The prosecutor whose name was withheld told court that the accused are charged with three counts of terrorism and establishing a terrorist institution in the country.
He alleged that the forty-five committed these crimes on December 11, 2017.
“The Forty-five and others still at large travelled outside Uganda with a purpose of perpetuating, planning or preparation of or participation in terrorist acts or providing or receiving terrorist training for political, religious, social or economic gain with due regard to the safety of others or property …” read part of the charge sheet.
The prosecutor also told court that the accused and others still on the run — on the mentioned date — willfully collected or provided funds directly or indirectly by any means with the intention that such funds will be used to in full or part by persons to travel outside Uganda for the purpose of planning, perpetrating or preparation or participation in or carrying out a terrorist act or providing or receiving terrorist training.
The magistrate also accused George Musoni, Moses Bijura, Daniel Kamara and others at large of forgery.
These were moving with forged documents and 39 identifications that point to acts of terrorism and with intent to deceive or defraud.
The Presiding magistrate could not allow the accused to take plea, saying count one and two are capital in nature and are only tried by High Court.
He added that whereas count three is tried by this court, since they appear on same charge sheet with the capital offence, they will also be handled by high court.
“You are not allowed to say anything now, what you want to say will be before a trial judge at a convenient time, you are therefore remanded up to January 15 when you will be brought back for mention of your case,” said the magistrate.
The accused were arrested from Kikagati in Isingiro district while travelling to Tanzania for a Christian fellowship and transferred to Nalufenya in Jinja, about 350km away from the scene of arrest.
The charge sheet indicates that they were from different parts of the country including Wakiso, Kakumiro, Mubende and Nakivale in Isingiro district.