Uganda charges 45 Rwandans with ‘terrorism’

Displaced families gather outside a school, which serves as their shelter by night, in this December 16, 2017 photo, in Oicha. (AFP)
Updated 30 December 2017
0

Uganda charges 45 Rwandans with ‘terrorism’

KAMPALA: Uganda has charged 45 Rwandans with terrorism following their arrest at the border with Tanzania earlier this month, a police spokesman said Friday.
“We arrested 43 Rwandan suspects at the border with Tanzania on Dec. 11. On further investigations two other suspects were arrested,” police spokesman Emilian Kayima told AFP.
All have been charged “with carrying forged documents, false identities and the serious charge of terrorism as their intentions were pointing to that,” he said without providing more details.
The suspects are being held at Nalufenya prison, east of the capital Kampala, often used to jail those accused of terrorism or involvement with rebel groups.
The suspects had been living in Uganda and claim they were traveling to Tanzania as evangelists.
But Rwanda says they are members of the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition party in exile led by former allies of President Paul Kagame, that Kigali deems a terrorist organization.
Neighbours Rwanda and Uganda have a fractious relationship, with their leaders competing for regional influence.
Rwanda has long blamed Uganda for harboring dissidents.
Two days after the 45 arrests, Rwanda’s Foreign Ministry in a letter pressured Uganda to charge the suspects.
The ministry accused Kampala of facilitating the recruitment of rebels and their travel to training camps, allegedly in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The same letter denounced “multiple unjustified arrests” of Kigali loyalists in recent months, including members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front.
Ugandan authorities say the loyalists were abducting and killing dissident Rwandan refugees, a claim backed by human rights groups but dismissed by Kigali.


France, Saudi Arabia to hold Yemen humanitarian conference end June

Updated 47 min 59 sec ago
0

France, Saudi Arabia to hold Yemen humanitarian conference end June

  • France and Saudi Arabia will co-host an international conference on Yemen in Paris
  • More than 10,000 people have been killed in a war that has displaced 3 million internally

PARIS: France and Saudi Arabia will co-host an international conference on Yemen in Paris in June to assess humanitarian needs for the country and possibly contribute to reviving U.N.-backed peace talks.
A Saudi-led coalition backed by the West has carried out air strikes against the armed Houthi movement in a war since 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in a war that has displaced 3 million internally and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the UN says.
"We are currently working on how to organise this conference with our various partners, Yemen and the United Nations," France's foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing on Wednesday.
"This conference should take stock of humanitarian needs, evaluate the assistance provided and the response mechanisms which need to be improved and define humanitarian actions to improve the situation of civilian populations."
The French president's office said the conference would take place at the end of June. A source aware of the plans said it was scheduled for June 27.
Von der Muhll declined to say whether Paris intended to invite representatives of the Iran-aligned Houthis.
"This work, which we want to be collective, can help to recreate the conditions for a resumption of political discussions under the auspices of the United nations," Von der Muhll said in a statement on Tuesday.
It is unclear how this would fit into the UN Yemen mediator Martin Griffiths' efforts. He said in April he wanted to present a plan for negotiations within two months to end the conflict, but warned that any new military offensives could "take peace off the table."
Three rounds of UN-backed peace talks between the Houthis and the Yemeni government, with the last held in Kuwait in August 2016, ended without success. Griffiths began his term in March in a bid by the U.N. to revive the stalled peace process.