Authorities in Uganda on Tuesday released 12 more Rwandan nationals bringing the total number of Rwandans released from detention in Uganda to 132, after 120 others were released in June this year.The release follows a teleconference meeting between the two high diplomatic officials from both countries in May this year whereby the Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa said that Uganda would release 130 Rwandans while another 310 will remain in Uganda to face charges in courts of law.
Rwanda maintains that there are hundreds more of Rwandans who are still detained in Uganda without trial and are denied their legal right including visits while they are subjected to torture by security organs.
Upon arrival at Kagitumba border crossing earlier Tuesday, the group of released Rwandan nationals were handed face masks and taken through the immigration process. They will be tested and quarantined for the compulsory 14 days in line with measures to prevent the spread of New Coronavirus.
Commenting on the move during a press briefing last month, Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister, Dr Vincent Biruta stressed that Rwanda emphasized key concerns to Uganda, mainly rotating around Rwandans who continue to be arrested, tortured and detained incommunicado in Uganda.
“As you might be aware, we have raised these issues with Uganda on different occasions, including the continued arrest and torture of Rwandans who are held in unknown detentions, sometimes releasing them after a long time,” the top Rwandan diplomat said.
In february this year, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the Presidents of Angola and DR Congo and Uganda held talks at Gatuna border crossing between Uganda and Rwanda where the fourth Quadripartite Heads of State Summit took place.
The talks build on a memorandum of understanding that was signed in Angola in August last year to end the dispute that prompted both countries to accuse the other of spying, political assassinations and meddling. The tensions had also prompted Rwanda to close the border with its northern neighbor.
Frosty relations between the two countries became more pronounced in February 2019, when Rwanda issued a travel advisory strongly warning its citizens against travelling to Uganda.
Rwandan also accuses Uganda of offering succour to two foreign-based Rwanda rebel groups – Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The RNC is a rebel group led by some of Rwanda’s most prominent dissidents including South africa-based renegade officer of the Rwandan army Kayumba Nyamwasa.
The FDLR is a rebel group composed in part of former Rwandan soldiers and Hutu militias who fled into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after massacring more than one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.