Ugandan Kidnapped At Rwanda Border, UPDF Demands His Return

Kampala — A Ugandan has been kidnapped by gunmen dressed in Rwandan army uniform in Kabale border district, witnesses have said.

Levy Byomuhangi, a resident of Rugarama village in Nyinamuronzi ward, Katuna was kidnapped by gunmen dressed in Rwandan army uniform at Mushenyi village, Karuhanga parish, Rubaya Sub County, about 20 metres away from Uganda-Rwanda border.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Nahamya, the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) 19th Battalion Commander confirmed the incident, saying that Ugandan security officials have contacted their counterparts in Rwanda demanding for Byomuhangi's release.

"We have been told one Ugandan has been taken by the security forces in Rwanda. They were chasing smugglers and entered into Uganda, landed on one man and they have taken him. We have informed Rwandan authorities and are working hand in hand," Nahamya said.

Saime Twesigomwe, the Rubaya Sub County, LCIII Chairperson says that the security personnel crossed into Uganda while pursuing suspected smugglers but instead arrested Byomuhangi after failing to trace the smugglers.

Twesigwomwe adds that Byomuhangi was heading home from Mushenyi village where he had spent the whole day burning charcoal.

Twesigwome says that the victim was handcuffed and taken to Rwanda.

Nelson Nshangabasheija, Katuna Town council LC3 Chairperson described the incident as unfortunate saying that Byomuhangi's family is living in fear that he could be harmed.

Many Ugandans have been arrested while others killed by Rwandan security personnel.

Last month, Sydney, a resident of Kagogo village in Bigaga parish, Butanda Sub County, Kabale district was shot dead by Rwandan security accusing him of smuggling matchboxes in Sebeya village, Burera district, about 15 kilometres from the Uganda-Rwanda borderline.

In April 2019, three farmers Susan Rwanjungu and Junensia Bazongoza, all residents of Mushenyi village and Jovia Ruvungafu, a resident of Nyinarushengye village in Katuna Town Council were arrested by armed Rwandan soldiers while digging in their gardens and taken into Rwanda.

The Uganda-Rwanda border has been closed since February 2019 following a diplomatic row between the two countries. Rwandan officials including President Paul Kagame accused Uganda authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in un-gazetted areas as well as hosting, sponsoring and facilitating dissidents. Talks between the two countries are yet to yield positive results.

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