The Uganda military court yesterday released seven Rwandan nationals after the State prosecution dropped criminal charges against them.
The release of the Rwandans came five days after President Museveni pledged a new beginning and vowed to restore relations between Rwanda and Uganda.
President Paul Kagame is expected to “return the favour” [though not clear in which form] as the two leaders seek to open a new chapter in the new year.
In his New Year Facebook message to the country, Mr Museveni offered insights into Ambassador Adonia Ayebare’s recent [peace] mission to Kigali, and confirmed that Uganda’s special representative to the United Nations delivered his message to Mr Kagame and that it was well received.
The seven Rwandans had been charged with unlawful possession of firearms, ammunitions and military uniforms.
They are Rene Rutagungira, Bahati Pacifique Mugenga, Emmanuel Rwamucho, Augustine Rutayisire, Charles Byaruhanga, Etien Nsanzabahizi and Claude Iyakaremye.
They were released by the General Court Martial based in Makindye, Kampala.
The Rwandan nationals were arrested in Kampala and Mbarara between 2017 and 2018.
“In reference to the criminal cases against the accused persons, this court hereby sets you free unless you are held on other lawful charges,” the court chairperson, Lt Gen Andrew Gutti, ruled.
The court ordered the release following submissions by military prosecutors Lt Col Raphael Mugisha and Capt Ambrose Baguma, who tendered in a letter of withdrawal.
“The accused persons were found in possession of military firearms without valid firearm certificates. However, we have instructions to discontinue proceedings in these matters,” Capt Baguma told court.
Court documents indicate that Iyakeremye, a boda boda rider, was arrested from Old Kampala while Rutagungira and Mugenga, a Congolese national, were jointly charged with senior Ugandan police officers for alleged unlawful possession of four grenades and the 2013 kidnap of Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Mr Mutabazi was dubiously arrested in Uganda and extradited to Kigali where he was wanted by the State. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda.
The Ugandan 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.
Others are: Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada and Detective Cpl Amon Kwarisiima attached to Crime Intelligence. The police officers are still in prison pending trial.
Culled from Daily Monitor