Authorities Identify Suspected Smuggler Shot Dead by Rwandan Security Inside Uganda

The suspected smuggler who was gunned down by Rwandan security in Rukiga district is a Ugandan, according to local authorities. The deceased is Jack Turyahikayo alias Rwakigizi, a businessman and resident of Kashekye parish in Kamwezi sub-county in Rukiga district. Rwandan security intercepted the deceased at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Nyakisa hill at around 08:30 pm on January 17th, 2023.

However, as the Rwandan operatives moved to arrest him, Turyahikayo fled back into Uganda. As a result, the Rwandan operatives opened fire shooting Turyahikayo thrice just about 50 meters inside Mpororo village, Kashekye parish in Kamwezi sub-county. After the incident, the operatives crossed into Uganda and carried the deceased’s body back to Rwanda.        

On Wednesday morning, Zadock Kamusiime, the Rukiga Deputy Resident District Commissioner confirmed the incident. According to Kamusiime, after days of investigations, Rwandan security authorities have finally come out to confirm that they indeed shot dead Turyahikayo.        

Kamusiime says that Rwandan security operatives intercepted the deceased while returning from Rwanda where he had gone to sell smuggled household utensils like plates. Kamusiime says the Rwandan authorities have promised to repatriate the deceased’s body any time from today (Monday).  He, however, says that investigations are still ongoing to establish why Rwandan security operatives crossed to the Ugandan side and shot a Ugandan before carrying away his body.

Incidents of shooting suspected smugglers by Rwandan security authorities along the Uganda-Rwanda border were rampant during the border closure in 2019-January 2022 on orders of the Rwandan government.  Rwandan president, Paul Kagame accused Ugandan authorities of spying on Rwanda, abducting Rwandan citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas, as well as hosting and facilitating dissidents who have declared war on the Kigali administration. 

Rwanda also issued a travel advisory to its nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety was not guaranteed. In May 2019, John Batista Ncherengye, a Rwandan national from Nkoma cell in Ntabarwe parish in Nyakatere district, and Alex Nyesiga Atuheire, a Ugandan national and resident of Nyakabungo village in Rukiga district were gunned down by Rwandan security at Hamisavu trading center in Mpororo in Kiruhura village in Kashekye parish in Kamwezi sub-county.         

The incident happened when Rwandan soldiers crossed into Uganda to arrest a suspected Rwandan smuggler who tried to cross to Rwanda with secondhand clothes after fleeing back into Uganda after realizing that security was in hot pursuit.       

A scuffle broke out when Rwandan soldiers impounded a motorcycle registration number, RE736G, which the smuggler was using but met resistance from residents who accused them of crossing into Uganda illegally.  

It is during the scuffle that one of the Rwandan soldiers pulled out an AK-47 that was concealed in a long jacket and shot the two to death. Uganda police opened fire to disperse the Rwandan soldiers who were trying to carry away the deceased’s body.      

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