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Army Court withdraws charges against more Rwandans

By Douglas Mubiru

Added 17th February 2020 10:35 PM

This brings to a total of nine Rwandan nationals released by the Army Court this year, having released seven on January 7.

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Released Rwandan nationals Fidel Nzabonimpa and Selemani Kabayinja in the dock at the General Court Martial on Monday 17 Feb, 2020 (Photo by Douglas Mubiru)

This brings to a total of nine Rwandan nationals released by the Army Court this year, having released seven on January 7.

COURT  JUSTICE

KAMPALA - The Makindye based General Court Martial (GCM) in Kampala has withdrawn charges of unlawful possession of firearms against more two Rwandan Nationals.

Selemani Kabayinja and Fidel Nzabonimpa have been discharged and freed by the GCM Chaired by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti after prosecution led by Cpt. Ambrose Baguma entreated to discharge the latter.

This brings to a total of nine Rwandan nationals released by the Army Court this year, having released seven on January 7.

Earlier released Rwandans included Rene Rutagungire, Bahati Pacifique Mugenga, Emmanuel Rwamucho, Augustine Rutayisire, Charles Byaruhanga, Etien Nsanzabahizi and Claude Lyakaremye.

These had been jointly charged with Ugandan senior police officers for allegedly in illegal possession of firearms, grenades and Kidnapping Jackson Kalemera alias Ndinga and (Lieutenant) Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and delivered them to Rwanda without their consent.

Upon stepping in the dock for mention of the case, Baguma told the court that he had instructions to withdraw all charges against Kabayinja and Nzabonimpa.

“My Lord Chairman and honourable members of this court, the accused were on November 8, 2019, charged in this court with unlawful possession of a firearm but I have instructions to withdraw all charges against them,” Baguma said.

However, he did not tell the court the reasons why and who instructed him to withdraw charges against the duo.

This prompted Gutti to order for the immediate release of Kabayinja and Nzabonimpa.

“In reference to the state request of discharging you, Kabayinja and Nzabonimpa, this court sets you free, unless held with other unlawful charges,” Gutti ruled.

The prosecution contended that Kabayinja and Nzabonimpa on or around October 8, 2019 while in Kisoro district were found in unlawful possession of a firearm to wit SMG N34671, ordinarily a monopoly of the Defence Forces.

It was also asserted that the duo was in unlawful possession of seventy-seven (77) rounds of live ammunitions contravening sections 3 (1), and 2 (a) of the Firearms Act Cap 299.

The charges call for a maximum penalty of death on conviction.

 

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