Ugandan Police block demonstration over ‘spies’ held in Rwanda
Kabale (Uganda) -Police in Kabale yesterday blocked a planned demonstration of about 800 friends and relatives of the two Ugandans detained in Rwanda, and threatened to arrest anyone who is seen on the streets.
According to a petition to the police, also copied to the office of the Resident District Commissioner, the demonstrators wanted to protest over the arrest and detention without trial of the duo by a foreign country.
Today marks 17 days since Mr Simpson Mpirirwe, a local businessman and Mr Didas Ndamira, an accountant at Radio Kigezi FM, were arrested at the border town of Cyanika near Kisoro District by the Rwandan military. Rwanda has since claimed the duo was involved in subversive activities.
The Kabale police chief, Mr Deo Obongo, said the demonstrators had given a very short notice. “Their reasons are even shallow,” he said. “The two countries are already handling the matter diplomatically and there is nothing we can do.”
On Sunday, Mr Elikanah Turyazooka, an uncle of Mr Mpiririwe, chaired a meeting that resolved to seek the President’s intervention. “Our government should intervene and begin negotiations to save the lives of our sons detained in Rwanda,” Mr Turyazooka said. Sources also indicate that the immediate families of the two have been receiving calls from Rwanda asking for information.
Living in fear
Mr Ndamira’s family says they have communicated to him, but are not willing to divulge details. “We have discussed family matters,” his wife Catherine told Daily Monitor yesterday but refuses to offer details.
Mr Ndamira’s brother, John Bosco Turyasingura, said the family was living in fear and had been warned that they were being monitored. With the demonstration blocked, residents have now threatened to block the Katuna border post—a gateway to Rwanda—unless the President’s office responds to their petition. “If the government does not respond we shall stage a demonstration and stop all the Rwandan vehicles from entering our country. The rights of our people shouldn’t be violated like that,” said Ms Hellena Mugisha, one of the protestors.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Mr Guma Muganda, said the Ugandan ambassador to Rwanda, Mr Richard Kabonero, was yet to visit the detainees.