Ugandan smuggler shot while smuggling drugs into Rwanda

Media reports in Kampala on Monday January 20, reported about  a Ugandan who had been shot in Rwanda.

The incident happened in the night of Saturday at 11 pm, three kilometers inside Rwanda. 

The story that was first published by Daily Monitor, and later reproduced by a number of other websites, claimed that the Ugandan, Theogene Ndagijimana, said to be a resident of Kisoro District, was shot and killed.

The paper said Ndagijimana was shot together with two Rwandan cousins “who had crossed into Uganda to visit their relatives in Kabingo Village (Kisoro) through the ungazetted border entry there.” 

The article then added that Ndagijimana was “only escorting the cousins” (through the same illegal crossing point) when Rwandan security officers shot them.

But closer investigation shows the Ugandan media were not presenting all the facts, and in the process omitting important information. 

Contrary to reports in Ugandan media, one of the so-called cousins, identified as Munyembabazi, was in fact not just “visiting Uganda” and therefore not someone Ndagijimana was “escorting back to Rwanda.” 

In fact, Munyembabazi, 21, has been living in Uganda in the Kisoro area for the past five years. 

He also is a well-known smuggler and user of illegal crossings, according to area residents who identified him.

The second “cousin”,  Munezero, 20, has been a resident of Kagogo Sector, Kabaya Cell, Murambi in Rwanda. When he went to Uganda, it was not for “a visit”. 

He was on a smuggling mission, together with Ndagijimana and Munyembabazi. They were smuggling drugs into Rwanda when they were intercepted.      

“Those smugglers were known as having a long-running career in this criminal activity,” said a border security official that talked on condition of anonymity. They also were known to be violent men that, when stopped refused.

They were armed with spears and threatening to use them when police shot. “It is a characteristic of drug smugglers to always turn aggressive when confronted,” border security officers disclosed.    

Another smuggler they were with, a Ugandan known as Gatsiri – resident of Kisoro in a place called Gahenerezo Center – escaped. 

According to information, Gatsiri is the one that first told about the dead Ugandan. 

However, there was a big problem when Ugandan authorities came to collect the body. 

An official known as Munanura who represents Uganda’s Internal Security Organ in Kisoro, and who came for Ndagijimana’s body was asked by Rwandan authorities to present the dead man’s identification or his family members.

The deceased smuggler had no document on him when he died. Munanura, the ISO man, had no identification of the dead man. 

But when the ISO man and his people left, they did not come back. Neither did Ndagijimana’s family appear to collect the body.   

Rwanda authorities have again decried the habit of smuggling; and of using illegal routes, commonly known as “panyas”. 

“Why not use the official crossing points? Rwanda has not stopped anyone entering the country – why resort to illegal paths? It only means criminal intentions! It is strictly advised that people from both sides of the border always endeavor to use official crossings in whatever they do,” officials stress.

Rwanda National Police has again warned members of the public to desist from smuggling; especially drug smuggling through illegal crossing points – more so at night.

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