Below is a Letter to RNC leadership

02 October 2019,

Jérôme Nayigiziki

General Coordinator

Rwanda National Congress (RNC)

Dear Mr. Nayigiziki,

We, family and friends of Mr. Benjamin Rutabana write to you to request an inquiry in the disappearance of Mr. Rutabana as well as his prompt return to his family in Belgium.

Mr. Rutabana left Brussels on Wednesday 4 September 2019 at 21:45 on an Emirates Airlines flight to Entebbe. He had a stopover at Dubai before reaching Entebbe Airport on 5 September 2019 at 13:50. He stayed in regular telephone contact with Diane Rutabana his spouse between 5 and 8 September 2019, date of his disappearance. Mr. Rutabana’s return ticket displays 19 September 2019 at 21:30 Kampala time as his scheduled return time using the same Emirates Airlines and he was due in Brussels on 20 September at 13:25. Unfortunately and for some unexplained reason Mr. Rutabana never boarded that flight, and contrary to his usual practice he failed to make contact with his spouse to inform her of any delay or change of programme, and all calls to his telephone were unanswered.

On 19 September, the day Mr. Rutabana was due back in Belgium, his spouse received information about her husband’s illegal detention by elements of RUD Urunana in connection with Major Faustin Ntilikina; General Jean Michel Afurika; Mr. Rachidi and Mr. Frank Ntwali. It should be noted that this detention coincided with the alleged presence of the latter in the region.

It has been 24 days since Mr. Rutabana last communication with anybody in his family or his closest friends. As reported by Ms. Diane Rutabana, this is contrary to his normal behaviour when he’s travelling as he has never before failed to

communicate his whereabouts at least once every other day.

Between 28 September and 1 October 2019, several contacts were made between Mr. Rutabana’s family members and friends on one side and members of the RNC (Rwanda National Congress) Executive Committee as well as other high officials on the other, including with the First Vice-Coordinator Lt. General Kayumba Nyamwasa; Diplomacy & Relationships with Other Organizations Commissioner Ambassador Charlotte Mukankusi; Research Commissioner Jean-Paul Turayishimye and RNC members Théogène Rutayomba and Rugema Kayumba. Both Rutayomba and Rugema went to such length as to promising to make arrangements of a direct telephone contact between Mr and Mrs Rutabana by Thursday 3 October 2019. This is another strong indication the RNC or at least some of its leaders know where Rutabana is being held.

Inconsistencies in initial statements received from RNC officials cited above prompted us to the conclusion they were either not equally informed or were trying to hide vital information concerning Mr. Rutabana whereabouts. One of the main contradictions was the allegation that Mr. Rutabana failed to inform higher management about his mission to Uganda and therefore could not and/or should not be located. At the same time, two of the RNC officials were confirming RNC representatives in Kampala had found Mr. Rutabana alive and in good health, meaning the RNC has direct access to him. We must stress both these representatives reported finding him after missions that lasted less than 24 hours. It should also be noted that Mr. Rutabana is officially still head of RNC’s Capacity Development Commission and that he informed his spouse and at least some of RNC officials about his mission to Uganda before travelling on 4 September 2019. This renders the RNC responsible for Mr. Rutabana safety and wellbeing while still officially on mission.

In the weeks prior to his disappearance and straight before his departure, Mr. Rutabana revealed to his spouse, family and close friends about his fears concerning his safety based on strong disagreements with RNC’s First Vice-Coordinator Lt. General Kayumba Nyamwasa as well as the latter’s brother in-law Mr. Frank Ntwali. His fears were confirmed by threats by other RNC officials about getting arrested if he ever ventured again to Uganda. Information from RNC sources indicates Mr. Ntwali was ushered to Uganda at the same time or straight after Mr. Rutabana’s departure to the same destination.

For all the reasons detailed above and many more we are ready to provide on request, considering the length of time since Mr. Rutabana last communicated with any of us, considering the animosity Mr. Ntwali consistently showed towards Mr. Rutabana way before his disappearance, considering the increasing distress his family is experiencing due to his absence, we, family and friends of Benjamin Rutabana call upon you, his colleagues and superiors, members of RNC Executive Committee, to shoulder your responsibility and resolve this matter as swiftly and as efficiently as possible by returning Mr. Rutabana to his family in Belgium. Failure to do so will prompt us to resort to some rather stronger measures that could have been avoided if our brother was brought back safely and in a timely manner.

The undersigned:

– Tabitha Mugenzi

– William Mugenzi

– Jason Muhayimana

– Simeon Ndwaniye

– Vidah Ndwaniye

– Louis Rugambage

– Diane Rutabana

– Emérance Sikubwabo

– Max Sikubwabo

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