By Goodluck Musinguzi
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has raised a red flag on Uganda People’s Defense Forces claiming they are planning to kidnap Rwandese at the porous border of the two countries for ransom.
Vincent Biruta , Rwanda’s Foreign affairs must be surprised himself as he did to many Ugandans claiming that UPDF is attempting to Kidnap Rwandese.
“Rwanda has seen a letter (in the media) by the Ugandan government to it’s border residents warning them of crossing the border or risk getting shot. Rwanda can not determine the authenticity of the document, and has not seen its denial”, Biruta said.
He said they have recorded incidents of UPDF soldiers crossing into Rwanda and kidnapping or attempting to kidnap Rwandans for Ransom.
Biruta said the actual case is that there has been incidents of UPDF soldiers crossing into Rwanda.
While there is no evidence of any Rwandan kidnapped or killed by Uganda’s UPDF, Rwanda’s RDF has shot dead close to 10 Ugandans since February 2019 when they closed their border over diplomatic misunderstanding.
Ugandans at the porous border between Uganda and Rwanda must have a reason to get worried after Rwanda claimed that Uganda People’s Defence Forces is planning to kidnap or attempting to kidnap Rwandans for ransom.
Its hard to tell if Rwanda’s Foreign Minister was scrambling its forces to the porous border so that they kidnap more Ugandans or fight with UPDF, time will tell.
However, Uganda has received many dead bodies with gun wounds. In June 2020, Sydney, a resident of Kagogo village in Bigaga parish, Butanda Sub County, Kabale district was shot dead by Rwandan security accusing him of smuggling matchboxes in Sebeya village, Burera district, about 15 kilometres from the Uganda-Rwanda borderline.
Levy Byomuhangi, a resident of Rugarama village in Nyinamuronzi ward, Katuna was kidnapped by gunmen dressed in Rwandan army uniform at Mushenyi village, Karuhanga parish, Rubaya Sub County, about 20 metres away from Uganda-Rwanda border.
A Ugandan, Teojen Ndagijimana, aged 26, was shot dead at night by Rwandan security forces in Kumugu Trading Centre in Musanze District inside Rwanda, about three kilometers from the Uganda border.
Alex Nyesiga, 32, who was killed in May last year together with a Rwandan national as they entered Rwanda from Uganda.
On November 9 2019, two other Ugandans Job Ebyarishanga and Bosco Tuheirwe, both residents of Rukiga District near the border, were shot dead about 1km inside Rwanda. Rwanda police later claimed the deceased were smuggling raw tobacco into the country.
Daily Monitor quoted Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the Kabale District Chairman saying whereas no single Rwandan has been killed in Uganda since their country issued a directive stopping them from crossing into Uganda, Ugandans continue being shot dead in Rwanda, they may be provoked into retaliatory action.
“Nobody should test the patience of Ugandans that have lost their relatives and friends in Rwanda shooting since last year. I condemn in totality the shooting and killing of Ugandans in Rwanda. Respecting people’s lives is very important, especially when there are other options such as courts of law where suspects are charged with the offenses committed, but not extrajudicial killings. The presidents of the two countries should do their best to resolve any outstanding issues for the good of the people in either country,” Mr Keihwa said.
Abel Bizimana Kisoro District Chairman, said at the time the shooting is a serious provocation that might result in acts of revenge on Rwandans living on the Ugandan side.
“Shooting and killing Ugandans suspected of smuggling in Rwanda is against human rights because there are other options that the Rwandan security operatives can use to discipline foreigners that commit offences in their country. Such trigger-hungry actions may lead our people to revenge because of such extrajudicial killings,” Mr Bizimana said.
Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to react to the claims of Rwanda. Social media comments from Ugandans are showing disappointment and calling on Uganda not to reply Rwanda.