Uganda deports 72 Rwandans, charges more of M23 links

On 2 January 2018 at 02:12

However, police said 24 Rwandans and Congolese, who were part of the group and are alleged to be members of M23 Congolese rebel group, will be taken to court this week for prosecution on diverse charges including illegal entry, illegal stay and illegal mining.

Mr Hassan Ssekalema, the officer in charge of Kisoro Police Station, said they screened the detainees and deported 137 to their respective countries.

“For the 24 members of M23 rebel group, it will be court to determine whether to deport them or send them to jail. We are still continuing with the operations to weed out suspected criminals along the border. So far two guns have been recovered,” Mr Ssekalema said.

This is the second group of Rwandans to be deported in less than a week.

Last week, Uganda deported five Rwandans, who had been detained for weeks on an unknown charges.

Since August, Uganda has increased operations targeting illegal immigrants and suspected criminals from Rwanda. The deportation and arrest of Rwandans and Congolese with links to the Kigali government has led to icy relations between the two neighbouring states.

Recently, the spokesman of the Uganda’s Ministry of Defence, Brig Richard Karemire confirmed to NTV Uganda that Rwanda had sent a diplomatic note to Uganda protesting the manner in which her citizens were being arrested and detained.

Uganda is yet to respond to Rwanda’s diplomatic petition.

Uganda has also counter-accused Rwanda of arresting Ugandans in Rwanda on similar allegations of illegal entry and forgery.

Two weeks ago, Ugandans blocked the Uganda-Rwanda Katuna border protesting the arrest of Justus Tweyongyeire, a local businessman in Kabale town, by Rwandan authorities on unclear charges.

Mr Ssekalema said the border security operations have significantly reduced the prevalence of violent crimes. The government blames foreigners for growing crime at the border where four people were shot dead late last year.

Last week, Uganda charged 45 Rwandans on three counts of terrorism in court in Mbarara District.

At least 43 of them were arrested on Tanzania-Uganda border in Kikagati in Isingiro District on allegations they were travelling on forged identities.

They were remanded till later this month.

Two others Rene Rutangugira, a Rwandan, and Bahati Mugenga, Congolese, and seven Ugandan police officers are facing charges of kidnap of Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Jackson Kaleemera on October 25, 2013 at Kamengo in Uganda’s central district of Mpigi.

Lt Mutabazi was, through collusion with some Ugandan police officers, clandestinely repatriated to Rwanda where he was sentenced to life imprisonment on treason and terrorism-related charges.