Rwandan refugee in Uganda kidnapped in capital: Officials

By Rodney Muhumuza and Ignatius Ssuuna, Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 10, 2017 at 10:13 a.m.



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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Rwandan refugee has been kidnapped by unknown people in Uganda, the victim's wife and Ugandan officials said Thursday.

Rene Rutagungira was known to refugee officials before his abduction in the capital, Kampala, said Apollo Kazungu, a government commissioner in charge of refugees.

Rutagungira had been out drinking with three Rwandan friends when he was kidnapped late Saturday, said his wife, Jasinta Dusangeyezu.

Days before he disappeared, a man had unsuccessfully tried to recruit him into a dissident group opposed to the government of President Paul Kagame, she said.

"I fear for his life," she said.

Rutagungira held the rank of sergeant in Rwanda's military before he retired in 1998. It was not clear when he moved to Uganda.

Over the years, some Rwandan exiles and refugees in Uganda have complained about the risk of abduction by Rwandan agents.

Douglas Asiimwe, a refugee officer with Uganda's government, said it is not possible to give bodyguards to Rwandan refugees despite the threats.

The U.N. refugee agency said it "remains worried about the safety of the refugee" and his family.

"We understand that the police are currently investigating the incident and we are liaising with relevant authorities to gain a deeper understanding of the situation," Charlie Yaxley, an agency spokesman, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Ugandan police did not immediately comment.

In 2013 a Rwandan refugee named Joel Mutabazi was mysteriously repatriated from Uganda to Rwanda, where he faced criminal charges relating to an alleged plot against the government. He was convicted and is serving a life term.

Kagame won re-election in a landslide victory last week.

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Ssuuna reported from Kigali, Rwanda.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rodney Muhumuza
    Ignatius Ssuuna

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