Uganda rejects Rwanda’s claims of fresh arrests

Frank Mugambage, High Commissioner to Uganda. /Rwanda Times
Frank Mugambage, High Commissioner to Uganda. /Rwanda Times

Uganda has denied fresh claims made by Rwanda that the government has arrested unspecified number of Rwandans and denied them access to legal services.

The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya said in an interview yesterday that he was not aware of any Rwandan national in any Ugandan detention center.

“In which detention centres are they being held? I am not aware of Rwandans held illegally in detention centres. What I know is that discussions are going on between Uganda and Rwanda under the mediation of Angola and Congo,” Mugoya said.

He stated that during the recent exercise to decongest prisons because of the COVID-19 lockdown, Rwandan and Congolese inmates were among the prisoners that President Museveni pardoned.

Since then there has not been any arrest of Rwandans in Uganda because of ongoing negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries, he said.

Rwandan High Commissioner Frank Mugambage while presiding over celebrations to mark 26 years of Rwanda’s liberation in Kampala on Saturday, said that “much as this country’s foreign policy looks at reaching out to neighbours to reinforce mutual relations for peace and stability, the multiple unjustified arrests of Rwandan citizens living in Uganda without notifying their embassy in Uganda and the failure by the Ugandan government to deal with anti-Kigali groups, remain a sticky issue in the ongoing bilateral negotiations.”

Mr. Mugambage declined to give details on the alleged arrests saying their families continue to report to him.

“How can I know? I only get to know when the families come to me. Some have been released, others have not. The fugitives are here. We have provided evidence. Some witnesses are still providing evidence,” he stated.

Mr Mugambage welcomed the initiative by the Rwanda and Uganda heads of states to normalise relations.

Uganda maintains that it has open arms for law abiding people from across the globe.

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