Frank Bizimana, 31, from Rwinkwavu Sector, Kayonza District, left his home on April 23rd 2018 and headed to Uganda where he used to buy trousers and resell them in Rwanda.
After crossing the border into Uganda with Rwf370,000 in his pocket, Bizimana boarded a bus to Ntungamo and having arrived there, he got off along others to do some shopping.
Afterwards, a policeman came, approached them and asked what the Rwandans were doing there. Bizimana and another Rwandan man tried to explain that they had just got off the bus to buy some things, but the policeman refuse to hear their explanations and instead got them in a car towards a police station.
At the station, Bizimana says he was stripped of his national identity card as well as the money. In addition, he spent one week alongside other Rwandans some of whom were brought there later, but he didn’t know their fate after that time.
“The following day in the morning, I urged them to take us from there and instead hand us to our embassy in Uganda, or take us to court. So, they decided to take us to a magistrate who sentenced us to 2 years in jail apiece,” Bizimana told journalists on Thursday at the Rwanda National Police headquarters in Kigali.
Bizimana further said that he urged the judge to alleviate the sentence, citing illness issues but the turned a blind eye. Instead, the captives were given 14 days to appeal their sentences. Fourteen days elapsed, and Bizimana appealed his sentence which saw his jail term shortened to one year.
“In Ntungamo Prison, I went through many hardships including illness. I contracted tuberculosis, but thank God it didn’t kill me because doctors took care of TB patients by offering us medicines and quarantining us in our own room,” he said.
For other Rwandans who were not ill, Bizimana said that they were harassed and beaten by prison guards as well as Ugandan inmates with electric cables known as ‘Black mamba’ in case they couldn’t speak Luganda or for failure to comply with the prison’s tough regulations.
After serving his prison term in Ntungamo Prison, Bizimana went back to the police station to see the policeman whom he had left his money, identity card and mobile phone. But when he arrived here, he was beaten and told that no Rwandan should claim his belongings in Uganda.
He was sent back to jail alongside other Rwandans. At around 5pm, they were boarded in a car and returned to Rwanda. They arrived at Kagitumba border on August 6th 2019.
He says they were charged with illegal entry, that their documents were fake, while they had entered Uganda through legal process.
He also said that young Rwandan women live in very bad conditions in Uganda, because they are used as sex slaves, beaten and imprisoned for just being Rwandans.
“They brought them beaten, having wounds all over. They are lulled by those who promise to give them jobs while they want to make them sexual slaves,” Bizimana noted. He also added that in Uganda, Rwandan women are routinely trafficked.