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Rwanda ‘puzzled’ by Uganda’s arrest of officers who extradited Rwandan

KIGALI – Rwanda is carefully watching events in Uganda with growing anxiety after Kampala charged a number of high ranking police officers and two civilians with aiding in the abduction of a Rwandan fugitive to Kigali.

The Ugandan military arrested and paraded in the military court last Friday: Senior Commissioner of Police Joel Aguma, Senior Superintendent of Police of Police Nixon Karuhanga Agasire, Detective Assistant of Police Benon Atwebembeire, Detective Assistant Maganda James, Special Police Constable Faisal Katende, Detective Corporal Amon Kwarisiima, Rwandan National Rene Rutagungira and DRC national Bahati Mugenga on charges related to the October 2013 kidnap and repatriation to Rwanda of Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former aide to President Paul Kagame.

These arrests may cause sour diplomatic relations between the two neigbouring countries. In 1999, the armies of the two countries fought in DR Congo and the fight almost degenerated into war between the countries. But British government intervened and arbitrated before Uganda and Rwanda reconciled.

But Rwanda now claims Mr Mutabazi was on the Interpol Red list and his repatriation to Rwanda followed normal extradition procedures between the two countries.

Kigali argues that it has repatriated more fugitives to Uganda (18) against the eight including Mutabazi that Uganda has so far returned to Rwanda.

“The claim of kidnapping is difficult for us to understand given that Uganda willingly fulfilled its legal obligation under both international law and the existing bilateral extradition MoU on exchange of fugitives to facilitate the apprehension and hand-over of Mutabazi to Rwandan authorities,” Assistant Commissioner of Police and Rwanda National Police Spokesperson Theos Badege was quoted by The East African.

Mr Badege said Rwanda had alerted Uganda about the presence of a fugitive in Kampala and he was subsequently handed over legally to Kigali in accordance with the obligations of every member of Interpol. “We acquired global tracking under the Interpol framework where a wanted person is placed on the Red Notice Alert once it is proven that there are strong legal grounds against them. This is the process that led to the issuance of the Red Notice Alert, and this was demonstrated in court during Mutabazi’s trial,” he added.

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