Ugandan authorities released nine Rwandan nationals Wednesday who were arrested last year during tensions between the neighboring countries. Rwanda has described the move as a positive step toward mending relations, but says more needs to be done.
Sam Kutesa, Uganda's Minister for Foreign Affairs, says the move to withdraw charges against the nine is part of an effort to de-escalate tension.
"It is the hope of the Uganda government that the Rwandese authorities will reciprocate the gesture of goodwill that we are making today," Kutesa said. "And to further assure you that any outstanding issues and concerns will be addressed in an open and transparent manner."
The release is in line with a recent memorandum of understanding between Uganda and Rwanda aimed at normalizing relations between the two countries.
Rwanda's ambassador to Uganda, Frank Mugambagye, called the move a step in the right direction toward smoothing bilateral relations and keeping the border open.
Mugambagye said he hopes Uganda will follow the release with further action, including dealing with people the Rwandan government considers anti-Rwandan elements operating from Ugandan territory.
The released Rwandans are Urayaneza Gilbert, Mugabo Nelson, retired Sergent Rene Rutagungira, Etienne Nsanzabahizi, Claude Yakalemye, Emmanuel Rwamuchwo, Augustine Rutayisire, Munyagabe Adrien and Corporal Nzeyamana Herman.