Uganda Sends Protest Note to Rwanda Over Deadly Border Shooting

12 November 2019

Government of Uganda on Tuesday wrote a note verbale to Rwanda after Rwandan soldiers shot and killed two Ugandan traders over allegations of smuggling.

Job Ebyarishaga and Bosco Tuhirwe were killed at Tabagwe village in Nyagatare District in Rwanda on allegations of smuggling tobacco into the neighbouring East African country.

The Kigali administration said on Sunday that the two traders were shot in self-defence after they allegedly turned violent and assaulted police officers on duty.

However, government of Uganda spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo said Tuesday that Kampala administration had written to Rwanda asking for a joint investigation into the said murders and also demanded that the perpetrators be held accountable.

The protest was delivered to Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda, Maj Gen. Frank Mugambage, by Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda.

"The Government of Uganda protests in the strongest terms the murder of its nationals by Rwandan security personnel for allegedly being involved in smuggling of goods across the common border. The alleged crime cannot justify the high handed and criminal act by the Rwandan security personnel, against unarmed civilians residing along the common border. Furthermore, the Ministry notes that these murders are inimical to the ongoing efforts to improve relations between the two countries. The Ministry demands that a joint investigation in the murders be conducted and the perpetrators held accountable," a statement issued by Mr Ofwono reads in part.

Mr Ofwono further said the Kampala adminitration was also concerned about an incident in which a Rwandan national was shot and severely wounded on Rwandan territory, while returning from Ugandan territory and was forced to flee back to Uganda.

One Peter Havugimana, 28, a resident of Kabaya village, Gishari Parish in Rubaya Sub-county, Gicumbi District was on November 4 received by Ugandan authorities at Rushaki B Cell, Karujanga Parish, Rubaya Sub-county, Kabale District after being shot in the shoulder from about 200 meters in Rwanda, on the border with Uganda. Havugimana was shot while carrying about 10 kilogrammes of potatoes from Uganda into Rwanda. After the shooting, he ran back into Uganda territory for safety.

He was rushed to Katuna Police Station and thereafter referred to Katuna Community Clinic for further management.

"The Government of Uganda considers the shooting incident a grave matter and that although the latest victim is Rwandan, it constitutes a pattern of reckless and high-handed acts on the part of Rwanda security personnel, against simple, ordinary people that live along the common border. The Government of Uganda is ready to hand Peter Havugimana to the relevant Rwanda Government authorities, if he wishes to return," Mr Ofwono added.

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