Tensions as Rwandan soldiers shoot dead 2 people inside Uganda

Ugandan police is investigating the circumstances under which a Rwandan soldier shot dead two people at the Uganda – Rwanda border in Kamwezi Sub County, Rukiga district.


According to a statement issued by Fred Enanga, the Uganda Police Force spokesman, the incident occurred on on Friday evening at Hamisavu trading centre.


The deceased have been identified as Alex Nyesiga, a Ugandan businessman at Mpororo trading Centre in Kiruhura village in Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga District and Peter Nyengye, a Rwandan resident of Nkoma village inside Rwanda.


According to Enanga, Nyengye attempted to cross into Rwanda on a motorcycle loaded with merchandise but turned back to Uganda upon noticing heavy security presence across the border.


“He was however chased and and intercepted by two armed Rwandan soldiers, a distance of about 80 metres into the Ugandan territory. The victim resisted attempts to arrest him, and was shot in the head and killed instantly,” Enanga said.


Enanga said that the Rwandan soldiers also shot dead Nyesiga, a Ugandan businessman who was trying to intervene.


“They immediately withdrew after failed attempts to remove the body of the Rwandan victim,” Enanga said.

The duo was gunned down on around 07:30PM on Friday evening at Mpororo trading Centre along the Uganda-Rwanda border.  Eye witnesses, say a Rwandan soldier shot the deceased during a scuffle to arrest a Rwandan national accused of smuggling second hand items to Rwanda from Uganda.

According to eyewitnesses, Ugandan Police officers were prompted to shoot in the air when Rwandan soldiers forcefully crossed into Uganda to retrieve the deceased’s body.

The soldiers only managed to return with the motorcycle and goods and unidentified Rwandan smuggler who had escaped.

Jackson Muganiizi, the Rukiga District LC V Vice Chairman, said that the incident has triggered tension in Kamwezi. He faulted the Rwandan soldiers for crossing into Uganda, saying they should have waited for the smuggler to cross to Rwanda and arrest him.
This isn’t the first time Rwandan soldiers are shooting at suspects smugglers.

On May 3, 2019, Rwandan soldiers shot Innocent Ndahimana, a beans trader and resident of Nyakabungo Village in Chumbe in Gicumbi District Northern Province in Rwanda while smuggling beans to Uganda through Katuna border in Kabale district.

Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda on February 27, to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs at Gatuna border.  Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills.

However, Rwandan officials including President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.

Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which have declared war on the Kigali government.

Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety.  Rwanda also deployed security officials and destroyed all temporary bridges to bar Rwandans from crossing to Uganda.

Despite the border closure and warnings, Rwandans continue to cross to Uganda using porous borders to look for food stuffs and goods.

The border closure forced the price of beans to soar in Uganda, which forced Rwandan nationals to smuggle them. Smugglers buy a kilogram of beans in Rwanda at Shillings 1800.