Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, head of the notorious Ugandan Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), has just been slapped with US sanctions for serious human rights abuse. His crimes are well known, and testified to by thousands of victims who survived CMI torture dungeons, and the sadistically named “safe houses”.
In the press release that announced the sanctions on Kandiho, one of the most notorious torturers in the Great Lakes region, the US treasury listed Kandiho’s crimes that included CMI targeting “individuals due to their nationality.” The statement said, “Individuals were taken into custody and held, often without legal proceedings, at CMI detention facilities where they were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts by CMI officials, including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death.”
In 2019, Rwanda issued a strong advisory to its nationals against travel to Uganda, for that specific reason. In collaboration with the anti-Rwanda terrorist organizations RNC, CMI engaged in abducting Rwandans to dark sites where they would be faced with the choice to either join the anti-Rwanda activities sponsored by the Ugandan regime or confess to serious crimes like espionage or gun possession. Survivors of the CMI ordeal recount beatings, starvation, electrocution, sexual abuse and even the death of other victims.
“During these incarcerations, victims were kept in solitary confinement and unable to contact friends, family, or legal support,” reads the US press release. Since 2017, the government of Rwanda continuously made a simple and legal request to Uganda: charge, or release Rwandans illegally incarcerated by CMI.
That never happened. CMI just went about its criminal ways, abducting, and illegally incarcerating Rwandan nationals, and denying family members, or consular officials access to them. Some victims spent years in CMI illegal detentions facilities under Abel Kandiho’s direct supervision.
The US communique says that in some cases, Kandiho was personally involved in torture, leading interrogations of detained individuals. Such an incident is narrated by Reverend Pastor Antoine Twagirimana and Bishop Anastase Nyirimpeta of the ADEPR Church. Twagirimana says Kandiho interrogated him in English but later switched to Kinyarwanda telling him, “You are a spy of Kagame!” Nyirimpeta also faced Kandiho in a macabre panel of CMI and RNC terrorists (Sulah Nuwamanya and Prossy Bonabaana). They sat him on the floor and jointly interrogated and threatened him with death. Both Twagirimana and Nyirimpeta suffered cruel torture before, during and after their encounter with Kandiho while under CMI custody.
The US press release concludes that “Kandiho is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to his tenure.”
The evidence of his persecution of innocent Rwandans is overwhelming. One can only hope that after US sanctions will one day be followed by criminal prosecution.
People can hope that Kandiho will be made accountable for blood of thousands of innocent people he has expedited to their graves, and the thousands of those he has ordered tortured, or tortured personally – all on the orders of his commander Yoweri Museveni.