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Sam Kutesa (L) speaking at the handover of freed Rwandans on Wednesday. Courtesy photo

Release of Rwandan Nationals was out of Good Will-Minister Sam Kutesa

posted onJanuary 9, 2020

By Kampala Post Reporter

Uganda says Rwandan nationals handed over on Wednesday were released out of good will.

Handing over the nine Rwandese after release by the General Court Martial, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa down played claims by Rwanda that the group was illegally arrested and detained in Uganda.

The Minister said the Rwandans had cases to answer, but their release was out of Uganda’s good will and commitment to ease tensions with Rwanda. Rwanda has since accused Uganda of habouring Kigali’s dissidents and illegally arresting and detaining Rwandan nationals in Kampala. Uganda insists the claims are false.

“To withdraw the charges, for us is an act of good will, we are doing this as a political move to ease the tensions between the two neighbours,” Kutesa said.

The freed Rwandan nationals were handed to Rwanda’s Ambassador to Uganda Maj Gen. Frank Mugambagye, who welcomed the release as “A step in the right direction by Uganda.” He however insisted that all other Rwandan nationals  “Arbitrarily arrested and are under illegal detention in Uganda are also released.” “The whole act of arbitrary arrest must also end,” he emphasized.

Lt Gen Andrew Gutti, the Chairman of the Makindye based General Court Martial said on Tuesday that release of the Rwandan nationals followed confirmation by the State Prosecutor that government had lost interest in the case.

Those released among others included; Rtd Sergeant Rene Rutagungira, Augustine Rutayisire, Claude Yakalemye, Etienne Nsanzabahizi, Emmanuel Rwamucho and Gilbert Urayeneza. These were picked from various parts of Uganda, including Kampala, Mbarara and Kisoro.

Following the official handover, the group will be handed to immigration office for legal repatriation back home.

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