Uganda: Two Ugandans Detained in Rwanda

11 January 2020

Two families in Buhara Sub-county, Kabale District are living in fear after their family heads were arrested by Rwandan crime preventers inside Rwanda.

The duo had crossed into Rwanda in search of a mentally ill relative, who had reportedly strayed into Rwanda.

Mr Gelvasio Mutabanura, an uncle of the victims, said on Friday that the two men crossed into Rwanda on Sunday and have since been detained at Murindi Police Station in Rwanda.

He identified them as Earnest Bangirana, 47, and Ambrose Twesigomwe, 39, both residents of Rugarama village in Rwene Parish, Buhara Sub- county.

"After their arrest, I accompanied their wives to Rwanda through the immigration offices of Gatuna and visited them at Murindi Police Station where the officers told us that they were processing papers for their release. The Rwandan security officials reportedly handed over Shs600,000 they had picked from Twesigomwe to his wife Oliva Turyasima," Mr Mutabanura said.

"We are worried about their lives because since Monday to date (Friday), we have not heard from them. Mr Bangirana has six children and a wife to look after while Mr Twesigomwe has five children and other dependants to care for. We appeal to the Ugandan authorities to liaise with their Rwandan counterparts for the release of our people," Mr Mutabanura said.

But the Rwandan ambassador to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage, on Friday said he had no idea about the reported arrest of Ugandans.

"I have no idea about that matter," Mr Mugambage said on Friday in a phone interview.

In February, Rwanda closed its Gatuna border post with Uganda on ground that they were constructing a one-stop border post and restricted its nationals from crossing into Uganda, claiming Uganda was a hostile country. Since then, several Rwandans have been shot dead or injured as they attempt to cross into Uganda.

On November 9, two Ugandans Job Ebyarishanga and Bosco Tuheirwe, both residents of Rukiga District, were shot dead about one kilometre inside Rwanda by Rwanda security operatives who claimed the two were smuggling raw tobacco into their country.

While handing over the bodies to the Ugandan authorities on November 12, the mayor of Nyagatare District in Rwanda, Mr Claudian Mushabe, said the deceased attempted to fight the Rwandan police who had arrested them.

The Ugandan General Court Martial based in Makindye, Kampala, on Wednesday dropped charges against nine Rwandans and they were handed over to the Rwandan High Commissioner for repatriation.

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