The recent killings of Ugandans inside Rwandan territory has reached a level where it’s no longer a matter between the two presidents to resolve. Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February 2019 and stopped movement across the border.
For any non-compliance with the border blockade, Rwanda security forces have reacted by killing civilians from either country, claiming these were smugglers. This claim is untenable as the victims were not taken to court to prove their guilt or innocence.
Uganda has lost five citizens at the hands of Rwandan security forces in the last seven months. Some Rwandans have also been killed by their own security forces for allegedly attempting to cross the border. Attempts between the two presidents to resolve the conflict have not yielded anything useful.
During the August 2019 meeting in Angola, the two presidents promised to resolve the conflict and have the border reopened. An ad hoc taskforce was set up to handle the matter, but nothing tangible has come of it.
The border is still closed and killings of Ugandans by Rwandan forces have continued, including the latest last Saturday when one Ugandan was killed inside Rwanda with two Rwandan citizens.
More than once, President Museveni has said the Rwanda-Uganda issue should be left to him and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to resolve. That should be fine but we are concerned that there is no evident progress as much as a process has been initiated.
It is puzzling that the Foreign Affairs ministry has not issued a statement on the recent killing or an advisory to tell Ugandans what to do and the way forward.
There is anger and tension over these killings, families of victims and those living at the border areas near Rwanda need reassurance.
It’s time for Kampala and Kigali to hold honest discussions on the ongoing tension and resolve to end hostilities. Rwandan security forces must also exercise restraint.
Where a Ugandan citizen is suspected of breaking the law in Rwandan territory, due process should be followed through arrest and prosecution, not extrajudicial killings.