Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Frank Mugambage speaks to journalists in Kololo, Kampala, on Saturday. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE
By Stephen Otage
Uganda has dismissed fresh claims by Rwanda that government has arrested unspecified number of Rwandans and denied them access to legal services.
In an interview yesterday, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, said he was not aware of any Rwandan national in any Ugandan detention centre.
“In which detention centres are they being held? I am not aware of Rwandans held illegally in detention centres. What I know is that discussions are going on between Uganda and Rwanda under the mediation of Angola and Congo,” he said.
He explained that during the recent exercise to decongest prisons as a result of the Covid 19 lockdown, Rwandan and Congolese inmates were among the prisoners that President Museveni pardoned. He said since then, there has not been any arrest of Rwandans in Uganda because of ongoing negotiations to normalise relations between the two countries.
But while presiding over celebrations to mark 26 years of Rwanda’s liberation in Kampala on Saturday, Rwandan High Commissioner Frank Mugambage, said much as his country’s foreign policy looks at reaching out to neighbours to reinforce mutual relations for peace and stability, the multiple unjustified arrests of Rwandan citizens living in Uganda without notifying their embassy in Uganda and the failure by the Ugandan government to deal with anti-Kigali groups, remain a sticky issue in the ongoing bilateral negotiations.
However, Mr Mugambage declined to give details about the alleged arrests. He said their families continue to report to him.
“How can I know? I only get to know when the families come to me. Some have been released, others have not. The fugives are here. We have provided evidence. Some witnesses are still providing evidence,” he said.
Mr Mugambage welcomed the initiative by the Rwanda and Uganda heads of states to normalise relations.
Uganda maintains that it has open arms for law abiding people from across the globe.
Rwanda closed her borders with Uganda at Katuna in February last year, accusing her neighbour of harbouring dissidents hostile to the Kigali government and persecution of her nationals in Uganda. Uganda has since denied the claims.
Credit to Daily Monitor.