14 March 2019

Rwanda: Government Slams Uganda for "Diversionary Statements"

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement comes following a statement by its Ugandan counterparts which alleged that, among others, export of Ugandan goods to Rwanda have been prohibited by Rwanda.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Thursday stated that recent statements issued by their counterparts in Uganda including the one dated March 13, are diversionary and do not address fundamental issues raised by Rwanda.

Kigali has continuously expressed dissatisfaction by Kampala's stance and rhetoric regarding the state of affairs of their relapsing bilateral relations.

The fundamental issues raised by Rwanda, as again highlighted in a statement specifically include: "The fate of hundreds of Rwandans, whose names are known to the Government of Uganda, who have been killed, arrested, incarcerated without consular access and tortured, nor the close to one thousand illegally deported to Rwanda in inhumane conditions."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement especially comes following a statement by its Ugandan counterparts which alleged that, among others, export of Ugandan goods to Rwanda have been prohibited by Rwanda.

Another fundamental issue in the latest statement by Rwanda is that of armed groups and terrorist organisations hostile to Rwanda, including the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and others, who are supported in their activities, including recruitment, by institutions and officials of the Government of Uganda.

"The details of these concerns have been repeatedly communicated to the Government of Uganda," reads part of the statement.

The FDLR comprises remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Of late, the FDLR have teamed up with other new anti-Kigali rebels, especially the RNC, operating - illegally - from eastern DR Congo. Reports including one released end last year by the UN Group of Experts on the DR Congo indicate that these groups have support from South Africa and Uganda.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also notes "the targeting of ordinary Rwandan citizens involved in regular business and trade activities, within the framework of the East African Community and the hampering of the free movement of goods, including perishables, to and through Uganda."

It is not possible to have free trade including free movement of goods, Kigali says, if traders are killed, tortured, extorted and their property are illegally seized.

"These are the fundamental issues that need to be addressed. Claims that Rwanda has instituted trade embargo on Uganda are as untrue as they are diversionary."

According to the statement, Rwanda's commitment to free movement of people, including Ugandans, goods and services within the region and on the continent is unquestionable.

Despite government recently issuing a travel advisory against Rwandans travelling to Uganda until issues of persecution of Rwandans is addressed by the neighbours, Rwanda has maintained that Ugandans are free to come to Rwanda and are guaranteed of safety.

"The Government of Rwanda calls upon the Government of Uganda to address the key issues stated above and as already repeatedly communicated in bilateral settings."

End last year, the spokesperson of FDLR, Ignace Nkaka best known as LaForge Fils Bazeye, and Lt Col Jean Pierre Nsekanabo, the outfit's head of intelligence, were arrested by the Congolese army, at the Bunagana border - which links Uganda to DR Congo.

Reports have indicated that that the duo was coming from Uganda for a meeting with other terror organizations, and the meeting, according to sources, was facilitated by senior Ugandan government officials.

Later, they transferred to Kigali where they are now reported to be divulging significant information about the activities of the insurgents.

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