Authorities in Rwanda have yet again arrested more two Ugandans, both teachers, in what seems to be an accelerated planned witch-hunt against Ugandans working in Rwanda.
The arrested Ugandan nationals have been identified as Gloria Ayebare and Annet Kabanyena both residents of Kibumba village in Rwingwe Parish, in Kisoro District and are teachers at Maranatha Nursery and Primary School in Rubavu, Northwestern Rwanda’s Rubavu district.
Reports indicate that the duo informed relatives last week on Monday that they had been granted a short holiday and were travelling to Uganda for a visit.
They were expected at home in Kisoro on Tuesday but didn’t show up, only to be tipped by the victim’s friends in Rwanda that the two had been arrested while crossing the border into Uganda and taken to an unknown destination.
This prompted Francis Ndagize, the father of Ayebare to rush to the Ugandan Immigration office at Cyanika border for help.
“Officials from the Uganda Immigration office helped to connect us with their Rwandan counterparts who asked us to wait as they check in Rwandan prisons,” Ndagize says.
“We are so much worried and live in fear that our children might be killed or tortured,” he adds.
Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro District Resident District Commissioner, said that security in the district is aware of the victims’ arrest and confirms that the duo has taught in Rwanda for the last seven years.
He also says authorities in Rwanda promised that the matter will be handled.
Whereas the reason for the arrest of the two teachers is unknown, authorities in the small East African country in April this year declared as illegal, Ugandans seeking work in their country. The declaration was made as in they deported two female Ugandan nationals Birungi Monique and Kansiime Lillian both residents of Nyarutuntu Subcounty in Ntungamo district.
The duo was dumped at Katuna border post with a deportation note referring to them as prohibited immigrants.
In June, Rwanda Authorities deported more two Ugandans Byamukama Alex and Himbisa Dancan under unclear circumstances. The two are both residents of Kabale district and we’re working in Rwanda.
Both Byamukama and Himbisa told SoftPower News that they had no clue to why they were deported but said the situation in Rwanda was tense.
The notification of deportation dated June 10, 2021 on the letterhead of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) seen by this news website, declared the two Ugandans as prohibited immigrants in Rwanda.
“We were arrested by Rwanda security and told that we were no longer welcome in Rwanda,” one of them told this news website..
Adding that “for a Ugandan to comfortably work in Rwanda, you are required to speak ill of the Uganda government and President Museveni.”
“If you don’t cooperate, fictions charges such as rape or engagement in corruption are preferred against you and you are arrested. If you are lucky, you get deported.”
Two days before their deportation, other four Ugandan teachers had earlier been deported on allegations of attempting to illegally exit Rwanda through porous routes.
One of the teachers, who refuted the narrative by Rwandan authorities of them attempting to exit using porous routes, told SoftPower News that after their arrest, their valid work permits were cancelled and then declared them prohibited immigrants in Rwanda.
The arrest, deportation and killing of Ugandans in Rwanda and at common borders by Kigali, violate several treaties and agreements ratified by East African Community Member States that provide for free movement of persons, labor and services amongst themselves.
Rwandan authorities have in the past shot dead dozens of Ugandan traders who travel to their country for trade and visiting relatives. Many of these Ugandans are falsely accused of being smugglers. They have also shot Ugandan nationals within Uganda.
These are happening amid the ongoing efforts to mend the relations between Kampala and Uganda.
Relations between the two countries became frosty in February 2019 when Rwanda unilaterally closed its border with Uganda at Katuna in February last year, stopping movement of goods and people from either country. Goods perished as cargo trucks whose drivers and proprietors were unaware of the developments queued up on the Ugandan side of the border.
Rwanda at the time claimed the closure was due to ongoing construction. President Kagame later said while communication had been made that he closed the border due to construction, the reasons were political.
He would later bar Rwandan nationals from crossing to Uganda by road through Katuna border citing mistreatment in Uganda.
However, Rwandans who travel to Uganda by air from Kigali through Uganda’s Entebbe aiport are not stopped by the Rwandan authorities.
Ugandan authorities on the other hand said that while Rwandans are welcome to Uganda as always, the country will not tolerate comprising of its national security.
A number of Rwandans were arrested inside the territory of Uganda and charged for kidnapping Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers and illegally repatriating them to Rwanda, among other security related charges.
Uganda hosts more than one million refugees including Rwandan refugees who have over the recent years left the country in thousands.
Uganda’s open-door policy to refugees is hailed by the United Nations (UN) as the most progressive in the world.