Deceased smugglers handed over to Uganda

One of the bodies is loaded off a Rwandan ambulance at the border. (Photo/Jean de Dieu Nsabimana)

Rwanda on Tuesday handed over bodies of two Ugandan nationals who were shot dead by Rwanda National Police over the weekend, after they resisted arrest and tried to fight the officers.

The two men had illegally crossed into Rwanda with smuggled merchandise, and when they were stopped, they decided to engage police in a fight.

The handover took place at Buziba Border Post, Rwempasha Sector in Nyagatare District.

The deceased were intercepted by Police early Sunday morning as they crossed into Rwanda at an ungazetted border point with Uganda, in Tabagwe Sector, Nyagatare.

They were identified as Job Ebyayishanga and Bosco Tuheirwe.

The bodies were handed to the delegation headed by Pulkeria Muhindo, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Rukiga, she is also Chairperson of the security committee in the Ugandan district.

The delegation also included police officers from the Rukiga region, and the deceased's family members, who were first given time to identify their two relatives.

The Rwandan side was represented by Nyagatare District Mayor, Claudian D. Mushabe, and Regional Police Commander in Eastern Province, ACP Emmanuel Hatari.

Mushabe, said it was "really absurd" that the leaders in the two countries meet for smuggling reasons.

"It was after midnight on 10th of November, when police officers tried to stop the smugglers, they refused and eventually, charged at the police officers. What happened, in self-defence, the police shot dead two of them, others crossed back into Uganda," he explained.

Mushabe noted that there was a lesson to be learnt from the incident, adding that there are gazetted border crossing, which citizens of either side should be using instead of using porous borders.

He also urged the business community against smuggling.

Mushabe also urged his Ugandan counterparts to do more sensitisation to fight against the cross border crimes.

"Even the deliberate meetings in communities could help because you find the smugglers known among border communities,” he said.

On her part, Muhindo said that the deceased had been positively identified by their relatives.

"We shall continue to tell our people to stop illegal trade, because even Uganda does not need illegal traders," she said.