Rwanda now protests deportation of Banyarwanda

Sunday August 19 2018

Gatuna

Gatuna/Katuna border crossing between Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda has protested the deportation of Banyarwanda from Uganda. PHOTO | FILE 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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Rwanda has protested the increased cases of deportation and torture of Banyarwanda from Uganda.

Kigali alleges that some Kinyarwanda speakers, former military officers, business people and students are being held incommunicado by Ugandan intelligence.

The Rwandan ambassador to Uganda Frank Mugambaje told The EastAfrican that the embassy has been receiving reports of deportations and torture of Banyarwanda.

The Banyarwanda are legally recognised in Uganda as an ethnic communities. Banyarwanda living in Uganda say that the situation is complicated by some Rwandans who have fraudulently acquired Ugandan citizenship.

“It is true there are Rwandans who have acquired IDs fraudulently. It is impossible to tell the difference between a Ugandan Munyarwanda and a Rwandan one,” a Ugandan Munyarwanda said.

Ugandan officials say many Rwandan citizens hold Ugandan IDs illegally.

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“The confiscated national IDs are returned to the National Identification and Registration Authority and the affected individuals are notified to go and reclaim them. Many of those have reclaimed their IDs,” a top Ugandan official who is not authorised to speak on the matter told The EastAfrican.

Rwanda says it has written at least 20 protest letters to Uganda with no response.

“As recently as Wednesday, people were complaining that their documents were confiscated because they call themselves Banyarwanda,” Mr Mugambaje said.

“More worrying is that we learnt that the arrests, torture and deportations are conducted by intelligence agents working with rebel groups like the so-called RNC.

“We have a long list of reports, but those we are sure were arrested by intelligence people working with rebel groups are nine individuals. We also have a list of 23 Banyarwanda who were recently threatened with deportation to Rwanda, even though they are Ugandans. We have duly communicated with Ugandan officials and requested consular services on the victims’ behalf but we didn’t get a satisfactory explanation.”

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