Rukiga security officials to ban Ugandan traders from crossing to Rwanda
Security authorities in Rukiga district are in a move to impose a temporary ban against traders from crossing to Rwanda without clear reasons.
This follows incident that occurred over the weekend of November 10 where two residents of Kamwezi Sub County, Rukiga district were shot dead by Rwandan security operatives. The deceased, John Bosco Tuhirirwe, and Job Byarushaga, were intercepted by security at Tabarwe in Nyagatare district, northern Rwanda about 200 metres away from Ugandan border while smuggling tobacco. Aron Ainebyoona, Christopher Byamukama and Emmanuel Niwamanya who were with the deceased fled back to Uganda.
In a press release released on the yesterday evening and signed by Commissioner of Police, John Bosco Kabeera, Rwanda National Police spokesperson argued that on interception, smugglers turned violent by assaulting police officers who were on duty. Kabeera added that this forced police officer in self-defense to shoot, killing two of the
smugglers on spot. Bodies of the deceased are still being held by authorities in an unknown place in Rwanda.
The Rukiga Resident District Commissioner Prikeria Muhindo Mwiine said that a ban against Ugandan traders from crossing to Rwanda can prevent further similar incidents. Muhindo added that despite the border closure by Rwandan authorities and several appeals by security and political leaders asking traders to stop crossing to Rwanda since their security is not guaranteed, traders kept a deaf ear and many traders locals in the district have developed a habit of crossing through ungazzeted borders to conduct business.
She added that they have directed police officers at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Kamwezi to arrest any Uganda trader trying to cross to Rwanda especially with goods.
Muhindo also wondered why Rwandan security operative’s decided to shoot to kill than arresting the suspects since they were not armed. She said that Rwandan security officials should have a spirit of humanity because Ugandans are their neighbors.
However, Justus Bareberaho, a resident of Kashekye parish in Kamwezi Sub County said that they cannot survive without crossing to Rwanda to carry out trade because it is the main source of market for their goods. Bareberaho added that the government of Uganda should instead look for more ways of how to solve the current standoff with Rwanda which has increased tension.
Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda in February 2019 to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs at Gatuna border. Rwanda advised truck drivers destined for Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills. President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in
ungazetted detention areas.
Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress-RNC and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda FDLR, which have declared war on the Kigali government. Rwanda later advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety.