RWANDA: Police officers accused of kidnapping Kagame’s former bodyguard released on bail

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Four Policemen who were arrested over kidnap of former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame have been released on bail pending trial on Monday, January 20, 2020, before the General Court Martial at Makindye.

The court chaired by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti has ordered for the release on bail of the former commandant of Police Professional Standards Unit, Joel Aguma, Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada formerly attached to the Police Flying Squad and detective Corporal Amon Kwarisima formerly attached to Crime Intelligence.

He also ordered the release of former Flying Squad commandant, Herbert Muhangi who was re-arrested last year moments after release.

Gen Gutti released each of them on non-cash bail of Shs10 million, each of their sureties executed a bond of Shs20 million and they are supposed to report to the court registrar every fortnight and whenever required by the court.

He also ordered that each of the accused persons’ movements shall not go beyond Kampala and Wakiso districts.

“Any breach of the conditions shall lead to automatic cancellation of the bail,” he ordered.

Through their lawyer, Maj Kamanda Muntungi, the accused police officers presented sureties reasoning that they are still innocent and they are sole breadwinners for their families.

The release of the four policemen on bail leaves four others on remand pending trial. Those in detention are Senior Superintendent of Police Nixon Karuhanga Agasirwe, Sgt Abel Tumukunde and SPC Faisal Katende formerly attached to Flying Squad, and Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) Benon Atwebembeire.

The group was jointly charged with two other persons, Rene Rutagungira and Bahati Pacifique Mugenga.

The accused persons were charged with unlawful possession of four grenades and the 2013 kidnap of Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Mr Mutabazi was dubiously arrested in Uganda and extradited to Kigali where he was wanted by the State. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda.

Prosecution case

The state alleges that on October 25, 2013, at Kamengo in Mpigi District on Masaka Road, Mr Aguma, Mr Agasirwe Karuhanga, Mr Magada, Mr Atwebembeire, Mr Tumukunde, Mr Katende, Kwarisima, Rutangungira and Mugenga while in unlawful possession of firearms and grenades, ordinarily a monopoly of the defence forces, conveyed a one Joel Mutabaazi without his consent to Rwanda government.

Mutabazi, a former lieutenant in President Paul Kagame’s presidential guard was kidnapped in Kampala in 2013 and handed over to his home government which sentenced him to life imprisonment. Lt Mutabazi had fled to Uganda to escape persecution at home.

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