Two Ugandan nationals have been shot dead by Rwandan Army personnel along the Uganda – Rwanda border.
The shooting incident which occurred at around 5am on Sunday is said to have happened at a place called Tabagwe (Rwanda side) which borders with Kamwezi, in Uganda.
One of the deceased persons has been identified as Byarushanga Job, son of Mushure Johnson of Kiruhura cell, Kamwezi sub-county in Rukiga district.
The other is Tuhirirwe Bosco, a resident of Kabira cell, Kamwezi in Rukiga district.
Their bodies were taken to Nyagatare district police station on the Rwandan side.
A knowledgeable source told this news website that those killed were part of a group of five people, three of whom managed to escape back to Uganda.
The three are: Nuwamanya Emanuel, Byamukama Christopher and Ainebyona Amon. They have told this news site that they were accused by Rwandan authorities of taking tobacco to sell in a neighbouring village in Rwanda.
The case has been reported to Uganda Police Force vide reference number: SD 03/10/112019.
In the recent months, there have been numerous such cases (of shooting) by Rwandan security deployed along the border points with Uganda.
Last week, a man of Rwandan nationality was shot and injured by Rwandan security while he was returning from Uganda to the Rwandan side of the border with food.
The man identified as Avugimana Peter, 29, a resident of Gishara parish, Lubayi sub-county in Gicumbi district was shot at around 3:30pm on Monday last week.
A source told SoftPower News that Avugimana was shot and injured on the shoulder of his left arm by Rwanda security forces.
He was returning to Rwanda from Uganda and was carrying irish potatoes.
In June this year, a man was shot by Rwanda military who were trying to pursue him as he ran towards the Ugandan border. The man had crossed the porous border to pick food from a neighbouring village in Uganda.
The incident occurred at Mushere Village in Nyagatare district near the Uganda – Rwanda border.
The Rwandan man identified as Nayizimana Olivier in company of another Rwandan was carrying bananas from Uganda.
The two met Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) who tried to stop them.The civilians refused to stop and instead dropped the bananas and ran back towards the Ugandan border. In the process, the Rwandan soldiers shot and injured one in the right arm.
Asked why they refused to stop, the two men explained they feared for their life.
In March, Rwanda “strongly” advised her nationals not to travel to Uganda. Rwandan students who study from Uganda on a daily were as well blocked from crossing for studies. Many were also stopped from attending their university graduation ceremonies in Uganda.
Sunday’s shooting happened a few days after Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame said Ugandans are welcome to Rwanda.
Two days ago, President Kagame reiterated that Rwanda still advises its nationals against traveling to Uganda. He said this is because they risk being subjected to illegal detention by Ugandan authorities.
“We told Rwandans ‘There is nothing else we can do if you people are arrested’. The only advice we can give others whose family members have not been arrested is ‘Don’t go there’,” the President said.
“But we continued to tell Ugandans they are free to come here, if they don’t want to come, we don’t have a quarrel with anyone”.
Rwandans continue to cross the border to Uganda despite their country’s state advisory against travel to Uganda.
The Rwandan President has not stopped Rwandans who travel by air to Uganda. It is not clear why he is not bothered by the “safety” of Rwandans who travel to Uganda by the country’s national airline, Rwanda Air, or whether Uganda is unsafe for only Rwandans who travel by road.
It is also not clear why it takes the deployment of Rwanda Defence Forces along the border with Uganda to stop, arrest and shoot at every Rwandan who attempts to cross to Uganda in order to protect the Rwandan nationals from alleged “unsafety” in Uganda.
Uganda is home to thousands of Rwandans who live and work in the country. Uganda also hosts over a million refugees from African countries, including Rwanda. Uganda’s open border refugee policy has been lauded by the United Nations (UN) as the best in the world.
Some Rwandan agents were charged by Uganda’s General Court Martial for kidnapping Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers and illegally repatriating them back to Rwanda. One of them, Rene Rutagungira, whose case has not yet been concluded by court was reportedly one of the most notorious Rwandan Military Intelligence agents who reportedly abducted from Uganda and took back to Rwanda a number of Rwandan refugees.
However, during his address to government officials in Gabiro, President Kagame cited Rene Rutagungira as one of the Rwandans “suffering in Uganda.” A number of Rwandans living in Uganda pointed out that Rene Rutagungira received special mention by the Head of state because of the alleged “special operations” he executed on behalf of the Rwandan state in Uganda, and that the citing of the said agent a high level meeting was pre-emptive of Uganda’s statement about the arrest.
Other Rwandans who have been found engaged in acts that compromise Uganda’s security have been arrested and deported to Rwanda.
This news site asked a Ugandan official why Uganda did not prosecute the Rwandans who were deported.
“It is common practice in the world for countries to deport people who are found in illegal acts. In our case, we have tried to maintain brotherly relations. We separate notorious elements from those who are misled. It is the notorious Rwandan state agents that we arrest. The misled are deported. This we do in defence of greater and mutual interests of our two countries and long historical ties,” said the Ugandan security source.
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa issued a statement months ago and said Rwandans are always welcome to Uganda but that Uganda will continue to defend its territory and sovereignty, as well citizens, visitors and refugees.
Efforts to contact Rwandan authorities about the numerous killings of Rwandans and Ugandans by Rwanda Defence Forces deployed along the border were futile.
However, a Rwandan official who spoke to SoftPower News on condition of anonymity explained that Rwanda considers movement of Rwandans across the border as illegal as well as all trade.
“Ever since the border was closed, trade with Uganda is considered illegal. Movement of people is also illegal. Selling of items across the border is also considered illegal,” he said.
Pressed to explain why carrying basic needs like food (irish potatoes and bananas) for personal use attracts shooting by the Rwandan Army, the official responded: “that is smuggling, the border is closed.”