Uganda furious against Rwanda over killing of its nationals

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (R) and Rwandan President Paul Kagame pose for photographers before their meeting at the State House in Entebbbe on March 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Michele Sibiloni (Photo credit should read MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images)

Uganda on Tuesday wrote a protest letter to Rwanda over the killing of two of its nationals by Rwandan police and demanded the officers be punished. The incident is yet a further sign of fraying relations between the neighboring states.

The two Ugandans were shot dead early on Sunday after being intercepted by Rwandan police while smuggling goods over the nearby border with Uganda, a Rwandan police statement said.

In a statement, the Ugandan government accused Rwanda’s security personnel of reckless behavior.

“The government of Uganda protests in the strongest terms the murder of its nationals by Rwandan security personnel,” it said. “The alleged crime (smuggling) cannot justify this high handed and criminal act by Rwandan security personnel.”

A Rwandan government statement on Sunday said the two Ugandans had entered Rwanda illegally on a smuggling run and assaulted its police officers.

Relations between the two countries turned frosty early this year after Rwanda shut its border, accusing Kampala of backing rebels trying to topple President Paul Kagame. Rwanda ordered its nationals not to travel to Uganda and barred imports of Ugandan goods.

In August, Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a deal to try to mend ties, vowing to respect each other’s sovereignty and refrain from actions that destabilize the other’s territory.