A Rwandan soldier has shot dead two people at the Uganda-Rwanda border in Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga district.
The deceased have been identified as Alex Atuheire, a businessman at Mpororo trading Centre in Kiruhura village in Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga District and Baptista Ncerengye, a resident of Nkoma in Rwanda.
The duo was gunned down on around 07:30PM on Friday evening at Mpororo trading Centre along the Uganda-Rwanda border. Eye witnesses, say a Rwandan soldier shot the deceased during a scuffle to arrest a Rwandan national accused of smuggling second hand items to Rwanda from Uganda.
Bright Arineitwe, an eye witness says that it all started when a Rwandan soldier crossed to Uganda to arrest unidentified Rwandan trader who was attempting to smuggle second hand clothes into Rwanda using a motorcycle.
He says as a result, the Rwandan national dropped the motorcycle and took off. Arineitwe the soldiers tried to ride the motorcycle but met resistance from residents who accused him of attempting to impound a motorcycle inside Uganda’s territorial boundaries.
It is an this point that the solider pulled out an AK 47 rifle, which he had covered in a long coat and started shooting at the residents hitting Ncerengye in the head killing him instantly. According to Arineitwe, Ugandan Police officers were prompted to shoot in the air when Rwandan soldiers forcefully crossed into Uganda to retrieve the deceased’s body.
The soldiers only managed to return with the motorcycle and goods and unidentified Rwandan smuggler who had escaped.
Hebert Turyasingura, another eye witness, says Ncerengye was shot on the back of his head and chest and died on spot while Atuheire was shot many time on the right leg and in the stomach. He died shortly after being rushed to Mparo Health Centre IV for treatment. Vernacular
Jackson Muganiizi, the Rukiga District LC V Vice Chairman, says the incident has triggered tension in Kamwezi. He faults the Rwandan soldiers for crossing into Uganda, saying they should have waited for the smuggler to cross to Rwanda and arrest him.
Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, says the Kigezi Territorial police are investigating the incident and condemned the excessive use of force by the Rwandan police.
He asked the Rwandan army to resist from acts of provocation.
The bodies of the deceased are lying at Kamwezi Health Centre IV pending postmortem. A team of Ugandan police officers led by Aggrey Okum, the Rukiga District Police Commander was manning the crime scene by the time of filing this story.
He told this publication that they were expecting the Kigezi Region Police Commander, Richard Ecega to visit the area and issued a detailed statement on the matter. Our reporter personally saw heavily armed Rwandan soldiers deployed a few kilometers away from the scene of crime.
This isn’t the first time Rwandan soldiers are shooting at suspects smugglers.
On May 3, 2019, Rwandan soldiers shot Innocent Ndahimana, a beans trader and resident of Nyakabungo Village in Chumbe in Gicumbi District Northern Province in Rwanda while smuggling beans to Uganda through Katuna border in Kabale district.
Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda on February 27, 2019 to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs at Gatuna border. Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills.
However, Rwandan officials including President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.
Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which have declared war on the Kigali government.
Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety. Rwanda also deployed security officials and destroyed all temporary bridges to bar Rwandans from crossing to Uganda.
Despite the border closure and warnings Rwandans continue to cross to Uganda using porous borders to look for food stuffs and goods.
The border closure forced the price of beans to soar in Uganda, which forced Rwandan nationals to smuggle them. Smugglers buy a kilogram of beans in Rwanda at Shillings 1,800.