KAMPALA – The International Relief for Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI), an American-based human rights firm has blasted exiled former Rwanda Defence Forces Chief, Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, over claims that he is not in any way involved in the disappearance of French citizen Benjamin Rutabana.
Gen. Nyamwasa during a Talk show on Washington- based Radio Itahuka last week denied any links to the disappearance of Rutabana who allegedly went missing in September 2019 a few days after arriving in Uganda for what was described as a business trip by his family.
This website in a story published on July 2, quoted Gen Kayumba as saying: “What can make me happy today is being able to see him alive and safe and able to reunite with his wife and children.”
“I hear people saying I am behind Rutabana’s disappearance in Uganda and it’s almost 10 months now. It sounds like the powers Kagame gives me all the time when he says a lot of things I have done when it’s completely untrue. ” Nyamwasa said during a Talk show on Washington- based Radio Itahuka, on Thursday.
“How can Kayumba go to Uganda and jail Rutabana who is a French Citizen and Uganda simply allows to have problems with France just because they like Kayumba? How would the jailing of Rutabana in Uganda be of benefit to me anyway? He questioned, adding that if Uganda had Rutabana in custody it would be a “silly mistake to incarcerate someone without charge.”
But IRHRI in a statement on Sunday morning July 5 insists that exiled Gen Kayumba is aware of the matter, and claims he is the force behind Rutabana’s alleged arrest and detention.
“We strongly believe that the information we have so far gathered is undoubtedly correct. We know Nyamwasa and his group can’t accept their involvement in Rutabana’s disappearance, but we already have evidence and witnesses that can prove them wrong,” Mr. Greg Heavens, the IRHRI president said.
The IRHRI say they have been asked by the family to trace whereabouts of the businessman.
“We have discovered that there were misunderstandings between Rutabana, Nyamwasa, and some other colleagues in their political party, RNC. They connived to portray Rutabana as subversive and upon landing in Uganda, he was treated as a terrorist just because of misinformation from these people to security agencies,” the NGO adds.
Mr. Greg broke his silence about rumours going around that Rubatana is in Gabiro Training Centre in Rwanda and that he is being tortured by Rwanda security forces.
“This is a ploy aimed at confusing the human rights organizations and security agencies working tirelessly to find Rutabana’s whereabouts and rescue him. Whoever is behind this propaganda of confusing people should stop it.”
Gen. Nyamwasa accuses IRHRI of working with the Rwanda regime but Mr. Greg describes this as a propagandist talk.
“[President] Kagame’s enemies are not our enemies as IRHRI,” he said, and thanked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his government agencies for showing their support to ensure that this matter is settled as soon as possible.
“IRHRI entirely acknowledges the complex role of security agencies to uphold and maintain security within the barriers they operate and applauds Ugandan security forces for their endeavors aimed at keeping the country safe. IRHRI also thanks President Museveni and his government for working tirelessly and assuring that Rutabana that will ensure his security from wherever he is being held until when he is reunited with his family in Belgium. This is indeed an overwhelming demonstration of a country dedicated to respecting the rights of not only its citizens but also the rights of their visitors, thereby enhancing democracy and the rule of law,” Mr. Greg said.
He said that with the concrete information they have gathered and the witnesses they have, they are preparing to file another application in court compelling whoever is holding Mr. Rutabana to release him unconditionally so that he reunites with his family in Belgium.
He said that in this suit, new government institutions including the Department of Immigration and some individual security officers will be required to appear in court and give their individual accounts of what they really know about Rutabana’s case.