Suspected Rwandan Security Shoots Dead Smuggler on Ugandan soil

The shooting of an unidentified smuggler by suspected Rwandan security operatives in Rukiga district has raised panic among the locals. According to locals, the suspected Rwandan security operatives intercepted a smuggler at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Nyakisa hill at around 08:30 pm on Tuesday night. 

As the operatives moved to arrest him, the smuggler fled into the Ugandan side. As a result, the operatives opened fire shooting the smuggler three times just about 50 meters inside Mpororo village, Kashekye parish in Kamwezi sub-county. According to the locals, after the incident, the security operatives crossed into Uganda and carried the deceased’s body back to Rwanda.  

Matayo Kazoora and Emmanuel Nshimiyimana, both residents of Kiruhura-Mpororo say that they heard three gunshots on Nyakisa hill near their homes only to see Rwandan operatives on Ugandan soil. The two say they were not brave enough to reach the crime scene for fear of being shot.   

Terezore Nshimiyimana, a resident of Tabarwe village near the Ugandan border in Nyagatare district, Eastern province in Rwanda says that he also heard the three gunshots around 07:30 pm Rwandan time (08:30 pm Ugandan time). He explains after a while, he saw a police pickup park near the border in Tabarwe village and security operatives loading a dead body.         

Our reporter who reached the scene managed to see blood stains on the grass and a bullet cartridge about 50 meters from the border. Abel Rubahika, the Kiruhura village LC 1 Chairman says that on consulting with their friends in Rwanda, they were told that after the shooting, operatives carried the body to Rwanda.  

Rubahika says that the suspected Rwandan security operatives used the advantage of the closure of the nearby Mpororo police post to freely cross into Uganda and shoot their victim before carrying his body back to Rwanda. He says that officers from the Mpororo police post would have intervened if it was still functional.   

Ugandan security authorities led by Superintendent of Police Hussein Niwagaba, the Rukiga District Police Commander were seen on Wednesday examining the crime scene. They also interacted with the locals and leaders in the area to establish the facts about the incident. Niwagaba referred our reporter to Elly Maate, Kigezi region police spokesperson when contacted for a comment.       

Rwanda was yet to release an official statement about the incident by the time of filing this story. Incidents of shooting smugglers by Rwandan security authorities along the Uganda-Rwanda border were rampant during the border closure between 2019-January 2022 on orders of the Rwandan government.    

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. The smuggler had fled back to Uganda after realizing that Rwandan 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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