President Museveni has reportedly picked interest in the disappearance of French national Benjamin Rutabana, who went missing in September last year allegedly on Ugandan soil.
Mr. Greg Smith Heavens, CEO and Founder President, International Relief and Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI), human rights firm contracted to trace the tycoon’s disappearance told this website that President Museveni is now aware of the matter and pledged to investigate it further.
Mr. Greg, quoting security sources, says President Museveni caught wind of the matter and has long ordered for Mr. Rutabana to be protected safely rather than being detained. This follows security reports indicating that Rutabana has since last been detained at army headquarters in Mbuya. This website couldn’t independently verify the allegations.
However, PML Daily, a local publication in July this year quoting highly pressed sources in the army circles hinted on the same. The same authoritative Ugandan publication, quoting Mr. Greg reported that Rutabana is alive and well, and not being held against his will.
“While it might not sound comforting to Rutabana’s family and well-wishers that he is alive and well in Kampala, there are likely more stakes surrounding his reappearance than his disappearance”, says Greg.
In a very detailed news release, Greg’s human rights firm, claims that Kigali administration through its Kampala Embassy after learning of Rutabana’s arrest has since shown a suspicious interest in him as a high profile Rwanda National Congress’ Commissioner for Capacity Development.
Security sources link Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa on Rutabana disappearance
The preliminary investigation into the matter established that Mr. Rutabana, using passport number 16DA52086, left Brussels, Belgium on September 4, 2019, at 21:45 in an Emirates Airlines flight. He is said to have had a stopover at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, before proceeding and landed at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda on September 5, 2019, at 13:50.
He allegedly stayed in regular telephone contact with Mrs. Diane Rutabana, his spouse, between September 5 and 8, 2019, but never again since then.
Greg says Rutabana’s return ticket displays September 19, 2019, at 21:30 Kampala time using the same Emirates Airlines and would be in Brussels on September 20, 2019, at 13:25 but “for some unexplained reasons, Mr Rutabana never boarded that flight, and contrary to his usual practice, he failed to contact his spouse informing her of any delays or change of program, and all calls to his telephone went unanswered.”
Greg says his firm learnt that a few days after his arrival in Uganda (September 8, 2019), Mr. Rutabana was allegedly arrested and held at Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) offices in Mbuya and later at Internal Security Organisation (ISO) for interrogation to establish the purpose of his visit to Uganda.
Sources say, his disappearance came amid a far-reaching standoff with his former colleagues in the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) leaders led by Gen. Nyamwasa.
RNC sources say Gen. Kayumba had received a lot of money from Rutabana before plotting to swindle the money and put Rutabana in trouble.
Gen. Kayumba was quoted by PML Daily denying involvement in the disappearance of the tycoon.
“What can make me happy today is being able to see him alive and safe and able to reunite with his wife and children.”
“Firstly, it is sad because Ben Rutabana has a wife, children, and extended family and until today we don’t know his whereabouts like our colleagues who have disappeared in the past. My prayer is for him to be found safe.
Unfortunately, media outlets and some people associated with his family have claimed that Uganda has him, and yet, a competent court in Uganda proved otherwise,” Gen. Nyamwasa said during a Talk show on Washington- based Radio Itahuka early July.
It is obvious, he said, that Rwanda finds this case an opportunity to tarnish his name as well as the rather good image of the Rwanda Nation Congress.
In fact, he says Rwanda’s hand, in this case, is more visible.
“I have no doubt that Rwanda knows Ben Rutabana’s whereabouts because the first person to write about his disappearance was their agent (Tom Ndahiro). Where did he get the information?” he said.
It is alleged that Rutabana and Nyamwasa differed in opinions, on among others the killing of their boys in DRC, and the latter (Nyamwasa) seemed not to act. Thereafter some of the survivors called Rutabana in confidence that they had actually fled to Uganda.
Ugandan authorities have previously dismissed these claims.
Plot to extradite Rutabana to Rwanda
President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame recently signed an extradition treaty to ease tension as a common border between the two neighboring countries.
Museveni and Kagame signed the treaty at the framework of the 4th quadripartite summit held at the Gatuna-Katuna border crossing between the two countries.
This website understands that Rwandan and Ugandan governments have since discussed key issues to improve their bilateral relations and reopen the border between the two countries and about 130 Rwandan prisoners in Uganda have to be deported and handed over to the authorities in Rwanda.
Greg, however, claims this is a ploy by Rwanda to have their opponents crashed, and IRHRI condemns such an arrangement.
“IRHRI has been receiving reports indicating that there are many cases of human rights violations in Rwanda. It is known worldwide how the security operatives in Rwanda have gone far in fabricating and framing cases against Rwandan political opponents. It is in this regard that IRHRI has requested the office of the President of the Republic of Uganda to review that treaty in order to provide adequate protection to all law-abiding people while living in Uganda,” he wrote.
“With the concrete information we have gathered and with our witnesses, IRHRI through its lawyers is preparing to file another application in court compelling whoever is holding”.
“All our sources indicate that Rutabana is still within Uganda under the custody of top security organizations, that’s the conclusive information we have. I urge Mr. Museveni and his government to ensure his immediate release. Uncertainty really engulfs his family, they need him since he was the breadwinner and has not been seen for a year now,” Mr. Greg Heavens, the CEO of International Relief and Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI), said.
“Special thanks go to some individual Ugandan top security officers who took risks and accepted to share information with us to see that Rutabana can be helped. Some were interrogated, some were punished, but as a human rights body, we thank them for not being selfish while they see someone’s rights being violated. We do give them special recognition,” Mr. Greg said.