KAMPALA — Softpower News, a Ugandan news agency on Wednesday restored a story described by pundits as diversionary propaganda on the alleged murder of Mr. Benjamin Rutabana, a French citizen of Rwandan links.
The publication had previously retracted the article after its conspiracy theory on Mr. Rutabana was quashed— underscoring a schism between the agency’s news-gathering operation and its head who has unapologetically promoted on social media the theory and remained defiant.
The Ugandan website, in the widely disputed theory, quotes self proclaimed ex-Rwandan soldier who claims to have witnessed the killing of Rutabana, in cold blood.
“I received Rutabana and saw everything. I witnessed his brutal execution by Rwanda’s Defence Intelligence … After that I had to flee with my family to Uganda,” Lt Gerald Tindifa, an alleged former ADC of Nyakarundi, is quoted as saying.
“In Rwanda, if you are involved in such an operation, you know for sure that one day all of you involved will get killed. That is how our intelligence operates, to conceal and forever bury evidence. I am grateful to God that my family and I are safe. I also pray that God comforts the family of Rutabana,” he reportedly said.
A United States based rights firm, International Relief and Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI), contracted to trace Mr Rutabana, has since slammed the publication over what they described as peddling diversionary propaganda.
Mr Greg Smith Heavens, the CEO and Founder President, IRHRI, said castigated Softpower News and said the individuals trading rumours that Rutabana is dead were agents of Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, Rwanda’s former Chief of General Staff who is exiled in South Africa.
He said he has reliable information tha Rutabana is well, alive and in Uganda.
‘Our most recent findings indicate that following our instant pressure and diplomatic processes with Ugandan officials, President Museveni picked interest into the matter and ordered for Rutabana’s safety. This was after he learnt that Rwanda had picked suspicious interest in him.”
He added: “These people (publication) don’t have any sense of humanity at all. See how they involved a person who is still seeking asylum (self-proclaimed Rwandan soldier) well knowing the consequences he could face if at all they actually interviewed the right guy. The story itself places whoever is called Gerald Tindifa at battle with humanitarian organisations and democratic countries for involvement in crimes against humanity. The whole act is completely against Humanity and UNHCR criteria of refugee’s rights protection”