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Uganda, Rwanda in row over border killings

A Museveni and Kagame tete-a-tete in South Africa where they attended the swearing in of Cyril Ramaphosa as president of South Africa . PHOTO PPU

Kampala, Uganda | AFP | A President Yoweri Museveni  and Rwanda President Paul Kagame  tete-a-tete as Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of South Africa early on Saturday, has been overshadowed by accusations after two men at their border.

Analysts had hoped the surprise ‘meeting’ in Pretoria, would signal a thaw in relations between the two presidents since the pair made allegations of espionage, political assassinations and meddling against each other earlier this year. Museveni and Kagame were part of more than 40 foreign heads of state who witnessed the South Africa Presidential inauguration.

Kampala and Kigali later in the day traded accusations after Ugandan police accused Rwandan soldiers of entering the country and killing two men, further stoking tensions between the two countries.

Rwanda, however, disputed the Ugandan version of events and said the incident happened on its side of the border after officers were attacked with machetes.

“The government of Uganda protests in the strongest terms the violation of its territorial integrity by Rwandan soldiers and the criminal, brutal and violent act… against unarmed civilians,” the Ugandan foreign ministry said.

Hostile relations

Relations between Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, once close allies, have turned deeply hostile in recent months with the pair making allegations of espionage, political assassinations and meddling against each other.

In a statement, Rwanda National Police said Rwandan security forces were attacked by people with machetes after stopping the suspected smuggler on a motorcycle after he crossed the border from Uganda.

“The officers shot two people, one Rwandan, who died instantly and one Ugandan who later died,” it said. “The incident happened in Rwanda.”

Ugandan police said earlier the raid occurred around 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Friday at a border post near the Ugandan village of Kiruhura in Rukiga district in the west of the country.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the soldiers entered “about 80 metres into Ugandan territory” in pursuit of a Rwandan on a motorbike.

“The victim resisted attempts to arrest him, and he was shot to the head and killed instantly,” Enanga said, adding that a Ugandan who tried to intervene was also shot dead.

The soldiers then retreated back into Rwanda, he said.

“In this very instance, there was no justification for the illegal entry and use of deadly force by the Rwandan military, due to the presence of alternative, adequate and effective remedies available at our disposal,” he said.

The border is porous and traders often smuggle goods from Uganda into Rwanda.

Rwanda drastically reduced imports from Uganda a few months ago and its citizens are banned from crossing over into Uganda.

Uganda very careful

Uganda however has not imposed tit-for-tat measures.

Enanga said Rwanda must “avoid acts of provocation”. He said 44 Rwandans had been intercepted illegally entering southwestern Uganda recently and had been handed back in a “very peaceful manner.”

The row between the two strongmen risks dragging in their neighbours, threatening economic integration and regional stability in an already conflict-prone swathe of the continent.

The standoff escalated dramatically in March when Rwanda publicly accused Uganda of abducting its citizens and supporting rebels bent on overthrowing the government.

Museveni — who has admitted meeting, but not endorsing, anti-Kagame rebels — harbours his own suspicions about his erstwhile ally. His officials have accused Rwandans in Uganda of spying, and some have been detained or deported.

4 comments

  1. Rwanda earlier on claimed that it was closing its boarders with Uganda because its citizens or people of Rwandan descent were being harassed by Uganda once they crossed over into Uganda. Rwanda went on to substantiate its claims by giving details of detainees who had spent months in the Ugandan prisons without trial. This had put Uganda in a tight position to the extent that President Museveni came up with his own explanation through a letter he penned to his Rwandan counterpart sometime in March, 2019. These recent allegations of shooting and killing to men at the Uganda/Rwanda boarder raise a number of questions regarding what Rwanda had stated as the reason it closed its border. If the closer of the border was to protect Rwandans from Uganda aggression, why would you stop, shoot and a Rwandan motorcyclist returning, presumably, from an aggressive Ugandan side? Keeping in mind that Rwanda claimed that it did not have qualms with “Ugandans” entering Rwanda? I want to make a remark, that what is happening in Rwanda could be a personal paranoia extended to the entity of the state. Kagame and not Rwanda could have a lot of enemies- some real and some imagined.

    • Rwanda ostensibly out of anger and discontent with a seemingly not only unreliable but also treacherous elder wanted to prove to him (you know who I mean) that Rwanda can eat and drink and study without Uganda’s input albeit with some discomfort.
      1. You Rajab are a born and bred indigenous offspring of this region and you know the symbiotic relationship,how delicate it is and the villainy of disrupting it.
      2. Rwanda says (and has proof) that Uganda is facilitating a team to attack it and remove the government. Uganda has done it before and can try to do it again. The proof is in the 2 FDLR leaders (a spokesman and head of intelligence) who were caught at Bunagana border, sent to Kinshasa in chains and repatriated to Rwanda. Then they spilled the beans…Mateke, Kandiho, Salim Saleh….an endless motley of regional vampires who thrive on bloodshed were all in a conference on how to attack and subdue Rwanda…..there is a foreign paymaster of course because Uganda cannot in its present WB controlled spending conduct a campaign nor accept a border war that will involve Ankole region.
      3. So after Salim Saleh had coerced Kabila to release them (the duo) and failed but in fact sort of hastening their repatriation to Rwanda, the man (who I alluded that you know) sent an expeditionary force to invade Rwanda and precisely on May 18 this year they landed in a place called Akagali ka Kagarama mu murenge wa Karambi, Akarere ka Nyamasheke where they killed one woman and entered Nyungwe forest.
      4. They are now history because they were wiped out by Kagame’s special forces…stragglers being chased deep inside and reaching Burundi only to be repatriated to where they were running from; pictures are all over the tabloids. An armed person cannot claim asylum or be given one unless you want to be dragged into the conflict. When they are caught, they talk….. their fate falls squarely upon the treacherous,deceitful remorseless deployer who God has in his sight.
      5. Rwanda further said it exported milk(you know how perishable) to Kenya via Uganda and the milk trucks it was held up over some flimsy excuses then released after they had gone bad…..rendering the previously valuable milk to garbage whose discharge you pay for.
      7. An investor exported his minerals through Uganda and his fully loaded vehicles were impounded and released after 5 months all because he was stationed in Rwanda.
      8. People caught,tortured and detained then released in very poor health after hefty bribes are many they claim.
      9. As for the border closure, Rwanda says a One stop border post (OSBP) sponsored by Trade Mark was initiated in Ug and in Rwanda……Ug ate its money and Trade Mark became angry opted to build theirs but it took longer so traffic was diverted to Mirama Hills….
      10. So if truth be told, despite Kandiho’s claims (which he fails to substantiate,prove or retract) that Rwanda sends hundreds of spies into Uganda to kidnap and kill refugees sounds hollow and silly. Does he imply Uganda is so inapt that there isn’t a single operative who can catch one Rwanda spy and arraign him in court? Why is he then paid a salary? to lie?
      11. One of these days, the Congo fine of 10bn USD aside, one or several of the vampires alluded to will do something and it will cause a problem to the whole country like the Kenyan conman who made UAE almost expel all Kenyans from Dubai yet he had stolen in Nairobi. Some of those vampires are liabilities as you will soon see.
      12. To cap it, one mischief maker told yesterday in Kireka that the only thing Rwandans missed (which Tanzania does not provide) is Uganda Waragi…..all else they used to buy from Uganda is abundantly available from TZ.

      • 4 times, I have carefully read this comment. You endeavored to sound so intelligent and convincing and I am pretty certain that you are one of the intelligence bosses in Rwanda. To cap it, all you have written is summarized in one word: “BOLLOCKS”

  2. BOB NICHOLAS MUKHOLI

    why do these politicians fool us over their dirty pasts?

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