Uganda: Rwandan Family Can't Cross to Bury Daughter

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni.

Kampala — Jessica (real names withheld on request), a Rwandan national, was on Monday morning, March 4, knocked dead by a truck at Queens Way on Entebbe Road. She was on her way home.

Initially, her relatives in Uganda planned to return the body to Rwanda for burial, but given the simmering conflict between the two countries that has seen restriction on border crossings into Rwanda, the family quickly dropped the idea.

"We had to bury her here, quickly, because her body had been destroyed by the truck," a relative told Sunday Monitor on condition of anonymity.

"She could not be taken across the border because it was closed and her father and sisters and family could not bury because of the same problem," the relative added.

Attempt

Jessica's father, according to family sources, attempted to cross into Uganda to bury his daughter but failed.

Jessica, 25, who graduated from one of the private universities in the country in 2017, and had been trying to secure a job since, was buried on March 6 in a town in Wakiso District.

The family requested Sunday Monitor not to reveal the details of the incident citing fears of retribution from "authorities back home".

Rwanda, which among other things cites torture of her citizens, has since blocked them from crossing into Uganda. The defiant ones have reportedly used unmanned crossings to enter Uganda.

Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister Richard Sezibera says his country's nationals are arrested, tortured and harassed in Uganda while others are deported for reasons authorities in Kigali say they don't understand.

Dismissed

Uganda has dismissed the claims. In an interview, Dr Sezibera told The EastAfrican, a sister paper of Sunday Monitor, that, "no one is stopped from travelling to Uganda," but that Rwandans are advised against it.

"Rwandans are strongly advised not to travel to Uganda for their own safety. We had issues of security with those who crossed to Uganda and Rwandans are advised not to unnecessarily go there, but they are not being stopped," he said. However, Rwandans in Rwanda and Uganda tell a different story, one of being kept apart because of the conflict.

Trade between the two neighbours has been affected, with goods trucks stuck on either side of the border.

On March 7, Uganda issued a travel advisory for Ugandans with intentions of travelling to Rwanda, suggesting alternative routes away from the commonly plied Katuna-Gatuna border.

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