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Uganda’s Military Court Releases Rutagungira, 6 Other Rwandan Detainees

 

The General Court Martial sitting in Makindye, Kampala has Tuesday released from jail 7 Rwandan nationals who have been in detention for various alleged crimes.

The released have been on remand at Luzira prison and the Military Police Barracks in Makindye.

Most of these who were arrested from different parts of the country were charged with unlawful possession of firearms.

These include Rene Rutangungira, who was arrested from a bar in Kampala in August 2017 and later paraded before the army court together with a number of aides of former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura.

He was accused among others with facilitating the repatriation of Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former officer attached to the Rwanda Presidential Republican Guard.

A former Rwandan army officer, Rutagungira’s name appeared frequently in the talking points of Rwandan officials, who in the heat of the diplomatic row between the two countries, accused Uganda of detaining Rwandan nationals without charging them in courts of law.

Rutagungira’s release, together with other fellow Rwandese is hoped to go a long way in easing tensions between Rwanda and Uganda.

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Others that were freed by the army court today are Bahati Mugenga, Emma Rwamuco, Augustine Rutisiri, Etiene Nsanzabahizi, Charles Byaruhanga and Claude Iyakaleme.

These were arrested by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) from Isingiro, Mbarara and Kampala.

The army court chaired by Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti, received from the Prosecutor Lt Col Rapheal Mugisha, a withdrawal letter of the Rwandese, stating that government had lost interest in this case.

This development comes after Museveni promised at the start of the new year that Uganda’s good relations with Rwanda would soon be restored.

“I can guarantee, that Uganda will do its share of the normalization of the relations between our two countries. I salute President Paul Kagame, the brotherly people of Rwanda and the people of Uganda,” Museveni said in one of his end-of-year tweets on Tuesday night.

Museveni’s comments followed what was termed as “positive” meeting between Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, Museveni’s Special Envoy and Rwandan leader Paul Kagame in Kigali.

Eron Kiiza, one of the lawyers representing the freed Rwandans said their release was possibly because of President Museveni’s change in attitude.

 

 

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