Will CMI and ISO Release Hundreds of Rwandans Languishing in Their Dungeons?

Many political observers are cheering the recent signed MoU’s in Angola between Uganda and Rwanda.   The signed MoU among other things called all parties to refrain from any political and military activities that may endanger security in the region.  Many political analysts assessed that the MoU refrained itself from finger-pointing, giving a hand of applause to countries that worked on the document and their endless initiative to bring those countries together.

However, to date they are no signs that Uganda is committed to address Rwanda’s concerns and CMI together ISO are yet to release more than 100 Rwandan detained illegally.

Another indicative sign is that media websites linked to Rwanda were blocked on the internet at a time the heads of state were in Angola signing the MoU and to date they are still blocked. According to the statement by Ibrahim Bbosa, the public relations officer of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) they wrote a letter to the operators instructing them to block the websites because the news websites were publishing content that was deemed ‘harmful and undermines national security of Uganda’. Given such developments one would easily cast doubt on the implementation of the agreement.

Some of the Known ISO and CMI dungeons where innocent Ugandans and Rwandans are detained

Currently there is ongoing debate among civil society oragnisations and parliament lamenting the ill treatment of Innocent people, illegally detained by CMI and ISO.

The use of torture as a tool of interrogation is foremost among an escalation in human rights violations by Ugandan security and military forces. In what most victims consider a state-sanctioned campaign to target Rwandans that have resisted to cooperate with CMI and ISO to give false testimonies,  and using torture to force victims to confess to links to the government’s political opponents or other people deemed as threat .

The act by CMI and ISO demonstrates an intention to commit unlawful acts and deliberate efforts to confer impunity on perpetrators. These acts include hiding the identity of detaining officers, who are often out of uniform, and of the detaining agencies; the absence of a search or arrest warrant; refusal to let the suspect contact family, lawyer, or anyone else; isolation of the suspect; hiding the identity and location of the detention place by blindfolding the suspect; statements by interrogators that there is no recourse, the suspect is powerless, they are all-powerful; and statements by interrogators that they have the ability to punish the suspect in the future, including prolonging detention.

These practices, coupled with torture, are designed to elicit confessions for use by CMI and sometimes for prosecution, and to discourage the suspect from persisting in the alleged activities. As they are hidden and illegal, such practices provide an environment in which other unlawful acts are carried out, such as robbery and theft of personal property, settling of personal scores, and sexual abuse and rape.

Many innocent Ugandans and Rwandans targeted by CMI and ISO have become victims, their business in Uganda have been confiscated by officers in CMI and ISO illegally.  According to some of the victims CMI and ISO officers frame serious charges including treason to intimidate property owners.

ISO and CMI own different safe houses controlled by different people and these are found in; Kyengera (Safe house Base 1) and Base 2 in Kyengera near shell Petrol station and Base 3 in Nakasero.  CMI owns numerous safe houses across Uganda but particularly in Kampala the most known dungeons are located in: Nyanama, Mengo , Nsambya, Muyenga, Kira, and Kabalagala.

By Moses Lukwago

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