Police deploy on Tanzania border to stop entry of expelled Rwandans

Saturday August 24 2013
Latest01pix

Displaced Tutsis at a refugee camp in Kabgayi May 28, 1994. AFP Photo.

Police have been deployed heavily on the Uganda-Tanzania border post to prevent Rwandans expelled from Tanzania from entering Uganda.

President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania last month ordered for the expulsion of at least 20, 000 Rwandans who have been living in the country.

Kikwete accused the Rwandans of illegal entry and settlement into the country. He said they came with their animals, which caused land wrangles.

Kikwete ordered security forces to repatriate them to Rwanda because their stay into Tanzania had denied Tanzanians social services.

The first Rwandans to heed the presidential order however started crossing over into Uganda.

According to Uganda police, at least 1200 Rwandan immigrants were registered after crossing into Uganda following their expulsion from Tanzania.

Advertisement

Godfrey Maate, the Officer in Charge of Mutukula police station, said that although they had managed to register 1200 immigrants, it is suspected many more had entered the country.

Last week, Grace Turyagumanaawe, the Director of Operations Uganda Police Force ordered for relocation of 800 immigrants to Lukoma village on the old Sango Bay Air Strip Land located in Kakuuto Sub County for temporary settlement.

According to Steven Ssebunya, the Kakuuto Sub County LC3 Chairman, there are several others immigrants who are renting houses in Kabonera, Mutukula, Kyappa, Mayanja and Sanje trading centers.

But now police has been deployed along Minziiro, Mutukula, Isingiro, and Kasensero landing site and Kyebe border posts to prevent more Rwandans leaving Tanzania gaining entry into Uganda.

Noah Sserunjoji, the Greater Masaka Region Police Spokesperson, says the decision to halt entry was taken after several criminal elements started infiltrating the Rwandan groups entering the country.

Sserunjoji says police is only letting in Rwandans with documents that prove they are refugees.

Francis Gakumba, one of the leaders among the Rwandan Immigrants, says only a few of their colleagues have been able to cross into Uganda ever since police deployed on Tuesday. He says Tanzania has also deployed police to stop them from entering Uganda.

Gakumba says Tanzania is also stopping them from crossing into Uganda with their animals.

Instead, according to Gakumba, Rwandan immigrants are being forced back to Rwanda. According to Gakumba, there are still many Rwandan immigrants stranded in Tanzania.

The Rakai District LC5 Chairman, Benon Mugabi, has welcomed the restriction of more immigrants into Uganda. He says those who were able to cross into Uganda have stretched the district’s resources to breaking point.

Mugabi says that the Rwandan immigrants are competing with Ugandans for water, medical services and grass for animals in the district which is stoking tensions.

Mugabi requests the Office of the Prime Minister to relocate those settled in Kakuuto to Kiryandongo.

[email protected]

Advertisement