NEW TIMES 27 MAR 2020
Over 300 Rwandan nationals have been rounded up by Ugandan authorities and dumped at various ungazetted entry points across Burera and Gicumbi districts in Northern Province.
According to accounts by the victims, they had been accused by Ugandan authorities mainly the Ugandan People Defence Force (UPDF) operatives of “spreading coronavirus.”
As of Thursday evening, a total of 342 Rwandans were recorded to have been dumped at ungazetted entry points from the sectors of Cyanika, Kagogo, Kinyababa, Butaro, Kivuye, Gatebe and Bungwe in Burera District and Rubaya, Cyumba and Kaniga sectors in Gicumbi District, according to local officials.
“UPDF officers had accused us of being coronavirus carriers without carrying out any test, they insisted on saying that Rwandan nationals are no longer needed on Uganda territory and that’s the main reason we were forced to leave,” said one the victims.
Many have lived in Uganda for years, he said.
Adding, “The officers are everywhere hunting down Rwandans to be expelled, no explanation is it is hard to escape them given the fact that they are so aggressive about whoever hailing from Rwanda.”
Most of the victims testified that they had been living in Uganda for years with some being engaged in various lawful businesses while others were casual labourers in the towns of Kisoro and Kabale, while others were picked from the capital Kampala.
They claimed to have been denied the right to return with their belongings, calling upon Rwandan authorities to intervene on their behalf so that they can at least get their belongings.
The Northern Province Governor, Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi on Thursday visited areas of Burera and Gicumbi districts which border with Uganda to check on these expelled Rwandans who are currently staying in the areas.
All the expelled Rwandans were screened for coronavirus upon crossing into Rwanda and Gatabazi gave them various tips on how to fight the spread of the virus.