By David Himbara
On April 9, 2020, Rwandan military made a surprising announcement. The military accused Byabagamba of engaging in ”criminal activities related to attempting to commit corruption and attempt to escape from a prison” with inside and outside accomplices. Byabagamba has spent the past 6 years in prison at Kanombe super maximum-security military prison at Kanombe, Kigali.
Byabagamba was arrested on August 24, 2014 and imprisoned for the most pathetic charges that would not stand in a normal country. The so-called crimes included inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population; tarnishing the image of the government; concealing firearms; and contempt of the national flag. On 27 December 2019, the Court of Appeal sentenced Byabagamba to an imprisonment of 15 years.
Here is the question. How could Byabagamba even think of escaping a military prison? He is imprisoned in super-maximum security military prison at Kanombe, Kigali. This facility represents the most secure levels of custody in the Rwandan prison system. Prisoners at Kanombe are held in solitary confinement for 24 hours a day.
We fear for Byabagamba’s life. He was Kagame’s security detail during the bush war that began in 1990, becoming head of the Republican Guard after 1994. All in all, Byabagamba honourably served his country and Kagame for 24 years until he was imprisoned in 2014. We fear for Tom Byabagamba’s life because people who work Kagame tend to die in prison. Kagame’s personal doctor, Dr Emmanuel Gasakure, and Kagame’s finance officer, Kalisa Mupende, were killed in that manner. The bogus claim that Byabagamba attempted to escape a super-maximum security military prison is a terrible sign.