RUKIIGA – Drama ensued on Tuesday when bodies of the Ugandan businessmen who were shot dead in Rwanda were handed over without post-mortem reports in Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga district.
John Bosco Tuhirirwe and Job Ebyarishaga, both residents of Kamwezi Sub-county were killed by Rwandan security at Tabarwe in Nyagatare District in the wee hours of Sunday, about 200 meters from the Ugandan border for allegedly smuggling tobacco.
Three other Ugandans who were with the deceased including Aron Ainebyoona, Christopher Byamukama and Emmanuel Niwamanya managed to flee.
In a press release issued on Sunday evening, the Rwanda National Police Spokesperson, Commissioner of Police, John Bosco Kabeera, said the Ugandans were shot in self-defence when they turned violent and assaulted Police officers on duty.
Today at around 11:00AM Ugandan time, Ugandan security, political authorities and the deceased’s relatives gathered at the Uganda-Rwanda border in Buziba village in Kashekye parish, Kamwezi Sub County, Rukiga district to receive the bodies.
Ugandan authorities were headed by the Kigezi Regional Police Commander, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson Elly Maate, the Rukiga Resident District Commissioner Prikeria Muhindo Mwiine, and the Rukiga District Vice Chairman Jackson Muganiizi.
It took about an hour for Rwandan security officials led by the Eastern Province Region Police Commander Emmanuel Hatari and the mayor of Nyagatare District David Claudian Mushabe to arrive at the border with bodies under tight security on both sides.
Drama ensued when, Ugandan security authorities demanded for a post-mortem and handover report before receiving the bodies. Rwandan authorities instead handed over death certificates.
The Ugandan authorities were frustrated further on realizing that the certificates were written in French and Kinyarwanda instead of English, Uganda’s official language. Sserungoji, Maate and Muhindo declined to receive the bodies and demanded that the Rwandan officials first write a handover report.
This forced some of the Rwandan officials to drive back to Nyagatare to pick a police stamp and headed papers. The misunderstanding lasted about one and a half hours but handover report was finally drafted.
The Rwandan officials said they will send the post-mortem reports through the embassy.
After the handover, the Rukiga Resident District Commissioner Prikeria Muhindo Mwiine condemned the act saying that “killing does not solve problems”. Muhindo added that the smugglers should have been arrested and charged accordingly.
The RDC also called for maintaining of a good relationship between Uganda and Rwanda.
The Mayor of Nyagatare District David Claudian Mushabe maintained that the Rwanda National Police Officers killed the smugglers after they turned violent while resisting arrest.
Mushabe said the incident is a lesson that each country has its own rules and mandate with security.
Rwanda closed its borders to Uganda in February 2019 to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs at Gatuna border.
President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted places. Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially the Rwanda National Congress-RNC and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda FDLR, which have declared war on the Kigali government. Rwanda then advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety.