Upon arrival on Wednesday 8th September 2021 around 4:30 p.m, the deportees including women, men and children were received by Rwanda’s Immigration and Emigration officials at Cyanika border in Burera district and tested for COVID-19.
Speaking to the media, deportees narrated how they were dispossessed of their belongings were enduring torture at Kisoro Police Station where they spent between 2 and 14 days.
Schadrack Manirakiza,21, spent three years in Uganda where he was working as a miner in Kasanda district. He was arrested in Kanaba and taken into custody in Kisoro prior to his deportation.
“I went to Uganda in 2017 where I have been doing manual excavation works. I was arrested recently in Kanaba area. I was deprived of my identities as well as 250,000 Shillings and taken into custody in Kisoro where I saw many Rwandans. We were subjected to forced labour, carrying huge timbers and chopping woods among others. I am returning with bare hands to Rwanda leaving all properties and my money,” he said.
Manirakiza advised Rwandans not travel to the country considering his arduous experience.
Jeanette Ingabire, 25, hailing from Kinigi sector in Musanze district is among deported Rwandans. She went to Uganda to visit her husband in 2017. Ingabire was recently arrested, detained at Kisoro Police Station where all of her belongings including 180,000 Ugandan Shillings were withheld and never got them back.
Their deportation follows series of circumstances under which Ugandan officials have been dumping Rwandans at borders following days of torture in detention facilities accused of being spies yet they had traveled to Uganda to run businesses or visit relatives among other reasons.
Rwanda, Uganda relations worsened since 2017. Rwanda has been expressing concerns over Rwandans who travel to Uganda for business purposes but are abducted, imprisoned and tortured accused of being spies.
Rwanda also accuses Uganda of hosting dissidents that are posing a threat to national security.
In March 2019, the Government of Rwanda officially advised citizens not to travel to Uganda for their security following testimonies of over 1000 Rwandans tortured and deported from Uganda.
In August 2019, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame signed memorandum of understanding ‘Luanda Agreement’ in a bid to solve conflicts between both countries.
Despite efforts to sign the agreement between both heads of state witnessed by mediators including the President of Angola, Joao Lourenço and Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the situation is still worsening as Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence continues with arbitrary detention of Rwandans who are subjected to torture in its facilities.