Rwanda’s security detains three Ugandan citizens over border control

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KABALE DISTRICT, UGANDA - NOVEMBER 14: The Ugandan side of the Katuna-Gatuna Border Post on November 14 2019, in Katuna, Uganda. A long-term diplomatic dispute between Rwanda and Uganda has stopped almost all local border movements between the two countries. This affects the daily life of families on both sides of the border. Only Ugandan citizens are permitted to cross providing they are not trading or carrying commercial goods. Despite the Rwandan government imposing bans of goods crossing either way, reports suggest that citizens of both countries continue to cross the porous border to look for food; often with deadly consequences. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: KABALE DISTRICT, UGANDA – NOVEMBER 14: The Ugandan side of the Katuna-Gatuna Border Post on November 14 2019, in Katuna, Uganda. A long-term diplomatic dispute between Rwanda and Uganda has stopped almost all local border movements between the two countries. This affects the daily life of families on both sides of the border. Only Ugandan citizens are permitted to cross providing they are not trading or carrying commercial goods. Despite the Rwandan government imposing bans of goods crossing either way, reports suggest that citizens of both countries continue to cross the porous border to look for food; often with deadly consequences. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)

Rwandan security operatives have arrested and detained three Ugandan Citizens while they were crossing the border back from visiting their relatives in Uganda.

The business men, who include Mr Bosco Nkwasiibwe, a resident of Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga District, Mr Dauliano Orikurungi from Kabale District and Mr Siliaco Orishaba from Rubanda District.

Peninah Karungi, a wife to Nkwasiibwe, told The Independent that the victims were arrested by Rwandan security operatives on Thursday morning.

She adds that their captors also confiscated an unspecified amount of Rwandan Francs from the men.

The Rukiga District Vice Chairperson, Mr Jackson Muganiizi, said that the victims were arrested from Kamwezi while crossing back into Uganda from Nyagatare District in Rwanda.

“The information we get is that they are now detained at Nyagatare District headquarters, we shall follow up on the matter,” he said.

Their arrest comes at a time when Uganda and Rwanda are negotiating a possible re-opening of the border at Katuna, which has been closed for a year.

President Museveni and Kagame on Friday signed an extradition treaty for prisoners and agreed to release suspects being held in each country.

The meeting recommended that Uganda within one month verifies allegations of the Republic of Rwanda about action from its territory by forces hostile to the government. If the allegations are proved, the Ugandan government should take all measures to stop it from happening again.

The summit also resolved that the once the recommendation is fulfilled and reported to the heads of state, the facilitators will convene within 15 days, a summit at Katuna for the solemn reopening of the border and subsequent normalisation of the relations between the two countries.

But on Saturday, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Rwandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of the East African Community Affairs said in a tweet, that the border will only open if Uganda takes measures against armed groups in a one-month period.

After the meeting, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni refuted links with General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the leader of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) whom Rwanda accuses of targeting to destabilise the country’s peace.

Uganda-Rwanda relations which resulted in border closure faded in February 2019 with Rwandan authorities led by Kagame accusing Ugandan authorities of abducting Rwandan citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.

They also accuse Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially from the Rwanda National Congress and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, who have declared war on the Kigali government.

Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety. Since the border closure, several Ugandans and Rwandans have been arrested and shot by Rwandan security for their alleged involvement in smuggling.

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