A Rwandan, who had taken refuge in Uganda but had to flee to the US after his friend was killed in Kampala at the end of 2011, has told Saturday Monitor that he gave information about his friend’s killers to Gen Kale Kayihura when he was police chief but Gen Kayihura did nothing about it.
The Rwandan refugee, who was gunned down, Charles Ingabire, was a journalist who had fled his home country citing threats to his life and pitched camp in Kampala, from where he ran a Kinyarwanda news website.
The other Rwandan journalists who, together with Ingabire were dissidents in Kampala are Charles Kabonero, Didas Gasana, John Bosco Gasasira and Godwin Agaba. The four were given emergency visas and relocated to Sweden and US after Ingabire was killed.
Two months before Ingabire was killed on the night of November 29, he had been attacked and dispossessed of his laptop and reportedly ordered to shut down Inyenyeri, the online news publication he operated, but he ignored the orders and continued running it.
Ingabire was shot dead in front of a bar at Bukesa near Nakulabye in Kampala. One of the Rwandan refugees, now exiled in the US, told Saturday Monitor that Ingabire was lured out of his house, which was not far away from the spot from where he was killed, by someone who is presumed to have been his friend.
The person who is accused of having lured Ingabire to his death is Rene Rutangungira, also a Rwandan national, who our source says had come to Uganda passing off as a dissident but was spying on Rwandan refugees.
Mr Rutangungira was arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and is detained together with former influential policemen Nixon Agasirwe, Joel Aguma and others. The senior police officers face a number of charges before the General Military Court Martial, including illegally repatriating refugees to Rwanda.
The arrests, Saturday Monitor has learnt, followed years of meticulous investigations in many cases led by CMI boss, Brig Abel Kandiho, who had worked in a unit investigating such cases under the President’s Office before he was assigned him to head CMI.
During those investigations, we have learnt, the Rwandan national we spoke to for this story, together with his fellow refugees who were in Uganda at the time Ingabire was gunned down, was interviewed by CMI and they all recorded statements which could be used in court to pin the suspects.
The source said on December 2, 2011, two days after Ingabire was killed, he met Gen Kayihura in his office at the former police headquarters on Parliament Avenue.
The meeting, our source says, had been arranged by a detective he only remembers as SSP Karuhanga, who he had met at City Mortuary where he had followed Ingabire’s body.
The source says he had told the detective that he had information about Ingabire’s killers, but that he would only discuss the matter with police chief Gen Kayihura. The detective, on hearing this, reportedly called Gen Kayihura and told him he wanted to take to him someone who had vital information regarding the killing.
A date was set for a meeting between our source and Gen Kayihura.
On reaching Gen Kayihura’s office, the Inspector General of Police had reportedly gone to Entebbe Airport to see off a foreign dignitary, so our source had to wait for about an hour before Gen Kayihura returned.
He finally told the police boss that the late Ingabire’s wife had told him that Mr Rutangungira had called her husband out of the house on the fateful night, saying that there was somebody he wanted him to meet. The source says Mr Rutangungira was known to the Rwandan exiles and their families, so Ingabire’s wife cannot have mistaken him for another person.
The source, who was known to both Ingabire and Mr Rutangungira, says he had just spoken to Ingabire less than an hour before he was killed. He says he also knew that Mr Rutangungira had promised to lead Ingabire to meet with the leader of M23 rebels, who were operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who he wanted to interview.
After sharing this information with Gen Kayihura, the source says, he suggested to him that he calls the suspect – Mr Rutangungira – purportedly to meet with him so that Gen Kayihura would use the opportunity to interrogate him over the killing.
“No no no, just give me his number, I will get him,” the source quotes Gen Kayihura as having said in response.
At that time, the source and his friends were in panic and plans were underway to give them emergency visas to relocate to Sweden and US. Three days later, on December 5, 2011, he crossed to Kenya as he started his way to the US.
While in Kenya, he says, he got in touch with Mr Rutangungira and put it to him that he lured Ingabire to his death. He says Mr Rutangungira told him that he was in Sudan at the time but would rush to Nairobi to explain his innocence. The source says he hid from Mr Rutangungira in Nairobi because he feared he too would be killed.
He says he never heard again from Gen Kayihura or the police on what the information he provided was used for, but was happy to cooperate with CMI in the investigations.