KAMPALA – The Makindye based General Court Martial has on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, released seven Rwandan nationals from Prison after the state dropped charges of unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and military uniforms against them.
The released are; Rene Rutagungira, Bahati Pacifique Mugenga, Emmanuel Rwamucho, Augustine Rutayisire, Charles Byaruhanga, Etien Nsanzabahizi and Claude Iyakaremye.
The group had appeared before a seven-member court chaired by Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti, however, prosecutors Lt. Col Raphael Mugisha and Capt. Ambrose Baguma tendered before court withdraw letters indicating that the state has lost interest in perusing the charges against them thus asking to set them free.
Capt Baguma noted that the accused persons were found in possession of military firearms without a valid firearm certificate, however, as prosecution they have instructions to discontinue proceedings in these matters.
“This court hereby sets you free unless if you are held on other lawful charges,” held Lt. Gen. Gutti.
The accused persons were charged before the army court in 2018 on separate files of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
According to the court documents, Lyakeremye, a boda boda rider was arrested from Old Kampala while Rutagungira and Mugenga, Congolese national were jointly charged with senior police officers over alleged unlawful possession of four grenades and kidnap of former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2013.
In 2013, Joel Mutabaazi was dubiously extradited and sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda.
The Police officers are Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nixon Agasirwe Karuhanga, former commandant of Police Professional Standards Unit Joel Aguma, Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) Benon Atwebembeire, Sgt Abel Tumukunde formerly attached to the Police Flying Squad and Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada and D/Cpl Amon Kwarisiima attached to Crime Intelligence. They remain in custody pending trial.
Speaking to journalists after their release, the lawyer of the suspects Mr Eron Kiiza noted that the release followed amplified diplomatic efforts led by the Presidents of Uganda and Rwanda to resolve the tensions between the two neighbouring countries that share close historical, cultural and social ties.