Uganda’s Military Intelligence is holding a high ranking Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) member over alleged espionage and engaging in activities which threaten Uganda’s national security, Chimp Corps report.
Fediel Gatsinzi was picked from Capital Shoppers Supermarket in Ntinda, Kampala on Saturday, November 9.
The First Counsellor at Rwanda’s High Commission in Uganda, Noel Mucyo, told this investigative website that Gatsinzi is in the hands of military intelligence.
“We have confirmed with Uganda’s military intelligence that they have him,” said Mucyo.
Asked to respond to accusations of espionage, Mucyo said he could not comment on the allegations as they were not officially communicated to the High Commission.
“We will respond when authorities officially write to us,” said Mucyo, adding, “What we know is that Gatsinzi is innocent.”
Highly placed sources said Gatsinzi is being investigated by security services for spying on Uganda since 1999.
“His major task here was to collect intelligence from Uganda parallel to what Rwanda High Commission was doing,” said a high ranking source who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.
Security also is investigating claims that Gatsinzi was tasked to move across Uganda mobilizing Ugandan Banyarwanda to join groups which were opposed to president Museveni including Dr Kizza Besigye among others.
Gatsinzi was the RPF Chairman for Mbarara District in early 1990s as the guerilla movement planned to invade Rwanda.
At the time, Mbarara was a major logistical base for RPF.
RPF vehicles which broke down during operations were repaired from Mbarara.
The town also served as a base for treating injured soldiers and mobilising food and medical supplies for combatants on the battlefield in Rwanda.
With the town playing a big role in this strategic operation, Gatsinzi was very active in RPF’s underground mobilisation work.
ChimpReports understands Gatsinzi was on Uganda security’s radar for several years before his arrest last week.
Mucyo told us the High Commission has since written to the Foreign Affairs Ministry about Gatsinzi’s arrest.
It’s yet to receive feedback on this matter.
He expressed hope that the issue would be resolved amicably.
Uganda Army spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said he was yet to receive a brief on the matter but that he would update us in due course.
“No information on this,” said Karemire, adding, “I will check.”
This development comes against the backdrop of weakened ties between Uganda and Rwanda over harassment of Rwandan refugees in Uganda, espionage and failure to honour commitments in the implementation of joint infrastructural projects.
Observers say the two sister countries should reinforce diplomatic efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes amicably.
CMI recently arrested Uganda police officers and Rwandan operatives who have since been charged at the military court at Makindye for kidnap and illegal repatriation of President Kagame’s former bodyguard Lt Joel Mutabazi.
The Uganda operations, according to informed sources, are aimed at “breaking Rwanda security’s network here that reaches every sphere of our life.”
Gatsinzi is said to be a close relative of Maj Gen Richard Rutatina, the former chief of Rwanda’s Directorate of Military Intelligence. This website could independently verify this claim.
Ugandan officials say they suspect Gatsinzi for having misled Rwanda about Uganda mobilizing forces to attack Rwanda in years of 2000.
Gatsinzi is also accused of recruiting Banyarwanda in Uganda to serve in rebel outfits fighting the governments of DRC and Burundi.
Security officials further revealed that Gatsinzi was a subject of investigation in several killings of suspected Rwandan refugees/dissidents, in Mpororo and Kiboga, Mubende, Kyaka2, Nakivale, Mbarara and Kampala.
It’s also understood Gatsinzi recruits youth from Ugandan universities to join Rwandan cadets for both police and army.
“He is suspected of identifying refugees in Uganda and recruiting them in Rwandan external intelligence and he is the one who recruited Rene Rutagungira,” said a source.
Come and See, Go and Tell
But multiple Rwandan officials, who spoke to us in confidence as they are not authorised to speak to the media, said Gatsinzi is attached to a Secretariat that runs the “Come and See, Go and tell” program which Uganda could have misinterpreted as part of espionage work.
The “Come and See, Go and Tell” program, according to the Rwandan government, is aimed at sharing Rwanda’s true state to those living abroad as refugees so as to make informed decisions on voluntarily returning and informing fellow Rwandans living as refugees in other countries.
For example Rwandan youth living in the diaspora and refugee communities around the world took part in the “Come and See, Go and tell” programme organized by the Ministry of Refugees and Disaster Management on December 17 and 18, 2016.
The sixty three young Rwandans toured Kigali City and Rubavu District.
The youth came from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Cameron, Morocco and Swaziland.
Prior to visiting various sites of the country, the youth attended the ‘Urunana rw’Urungano youth forum’, which convened 754 youths at the Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre in Gabiro and also participated in the just concluded National Dialogue – Umushyikirano.
“Because Gatsinzi is involved in this work, some people might misunderstand him,” said a Rwandan official, adding, “We hope Uganda doesn’t get the wrong impression.”
However, Uganda security believes Gatsinzi coordinates trading activities of RPF in Uganda and allocates collected cash to support opposition groups in Uganda and Rwandan spying activities.
It’s also alleged before his arrest, Gatsinzi was tracking the groupings of refugees who were trying to access Parliament for presentation of their petition.
Gatsinzi is further blamed for working from behind-the-scenes to facilitate a smear campaign against President Museveni by alleging Uganda is training Rwandan rebels to “justify their reasons of financing civil disobedience activities of FDC and other pressure groups and armed rebellions.”
Rwandan officials dismissed these accusations as “baseless” and “totally untrue.”
Mucyo separately told us that Gatsinzi was “here to visit his son who studies at Uganda Christian University, Mukono. That’s the reason he came here.”
Despite these counter accusations and arrests, Ugandan diplomats believe the bilateral relations remain strong.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amb Patrick Mugoya reassured in a recent statement: “Bilateral ties between Uganda and Rwanda remain solid and Rwanda remains a strategic partner to Uganda in both our visions for integration and for peace and security in the region.”
“It should be clearly emphasized that there are agreed avenues, procedures and mechanisms through which any discontentment or misunderstandings between both our countries may be raised as well as addressed.”