By Kwame Ismail Nkurunziza
When Diane Ngoga Nzamukosha, 36, left Rwanda in 2014 for Uganda in search of better opportunities, she would not imagine that five years later, her pursuit for a happier life would turn into a nightmare.
Nzamukosha is among the seven Rwandans who were deported by Ugandan authorities on February 3, 2021.
The mother of one says initially, life in Uganda was good after starting a business selling clothes, which she bought from Kampala and sold them in South Sudan.
But one day while she was at home, her 13-year-old son came running and told her that there were casually dressed armed men who wanted to talk to her.
The men, who she later learnt were soldiers, told her that they had information that she had guns in her house and accused her of being a spy who had been sent to Uganda to kill Rwandan dissidents.
The ambitious mother from Rubavu district was flabbergasted. Although the security personal didn’t find the guns they were looking for, they arrested her anyway and took her to one of the facilities owned by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO).
Later she was transferred to Kireka police station and eventually to Mbuya barracks, where she says she was subjected to torture and food deprivation for six months.
“In the six months I spent there, we would eat thrice a week and be beaten daily and interrogated with our eyes covered,” Nzamukosha said.
She went on to say that following the severe torture, she became so weak and the soldiers, fearing the worst could happen, had no option but to release her.
Nzamukosha, who still struggles to walk, lost contact with her teenage son when she was arrested and currently she is said to be receiving treatment at Kanombe military hospital.
She added that; “I don’t know if I will ever be able to properly regain my health. I went to Uganda when I was energetic, but that’s no longer the case. I don’t know whether I will be able to work again.”
Rwandan citizens in Uganda and some Ugandans of Rwandan descent say they have seen an increase of illegal detentions, harassment, distortion towards Banyarwanda and face xenophobia while interacting with government officials ever since Rwanda closed her border with Uganda in February 2019.
It should be noted that several Rwandans have been arrested in Uganda and are currently in detention, while others have over time been deported back to Rwanda.
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