By Spy Uganda
Kabale: The long simmering rivalry between Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame has escalated border tensions into a serious risk of armed interstate conflict.
In May 2019, tensions rose after Uganda protested what it said was an incursion by Rwandan forces onto Ugandan territory, killing two civilians in the border town of Rukiga. Rwanda refuted the claim, saying that it was pursuing a group of smugglers that had illegally crossed over to its side of the border.
However the latest information is that another Ugandan has allegedly been kidnapped by suspected Rwandan security personnel in Kabale district.
Picture On ID Is Of Byomuhangi Leevi Allegedly Kidnapped
According to our sources, Mr Levy Byomuhangi, a resident of Rugarama village in Nyinamuronzi ward, Katuna was kidnapped by gunmen dressed in Rwandan army uniform at Mushenyi village, Karuhanga parish, Rubaya Sub County, about 20 metres away from Uganda-Rwanda border.
Mr Saime Twesigomwe, the Rubaya Sub County, LC3 Chairperson said that the security personnel crossed into Uganda while pursuing suspected smugglers but instead arrested Byomuhangi after failing to trace the smugglers.
“Mr Byomuhangi was heading home from Mushenyi village where he had spent the whole day burning charcoal. The gunmen dressed in Rwandan army uniform from nowhere handcuffed him and took him to Rwanda,” he said.
Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Katuna Town Council LC3 Chairperson described the incident as unfortunate saying that Byomuhangi’s family is living in fear that he could be harmed.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Nahamya, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) 19th Battalion Commander said that Ugandan security officials have contacted their counterparts in Rwanda demanding for Byomuhangi’s release.
“As UPDF, we have informed authorities in Rwanda and we are working hand in hand with them to see that our citizen is released,” he said.
However according to Rwandan Officials, Mr Leevi is in custody following arrest for attempting to smuggle into Rwanda 27 litres of Kanyanga “waragi” in Uganda, also classified an illegal drug in Rwanda.
“No one kidnapped Levi Byomuhangi, This man broke the law first by entering Rwanda through an illegal path; secondly, he was smuggling; and thirdly, he was smuggling a dangerous substance,” a Rwandan border official said.
“Byomuhangi was arrested yesterday, Saturday 11, in Rubaya, Gicumbi Sector in the Northern Province on the border with Uganda, transporting illegal brew – 20 litres in a jerrycan and 7 in plastic sachets. He was also carrying composite flour (an ingredient in the manufacture of ikigage, another illegal intoxicant), 10 kilograms of maize flour, cooking oil, and salt” an official added.
All these result from July and December 2018 as well as April 2019, when P5 rebel group and their allies launched attacks into Rwanda.
This attack led to the deaths of two Rwandan soldiers and an unknown number of rebels. Two civilians were killed and eight were seriously wounded in the April assault. Rwanda pursued and captured three senior Rwandan rebel commanders accused of leading the attacks.
In February 2019, Rwanda closed its border with Uganda after accusing Kampala of harboring Nyamwasa’s fighters and arbitrarily detaining and torturing Rwandan nationals, charges Uganda denies.
The border was reopened briefly in early June but shut again a few weeks later. Rwanda has issued a travel advisory warning its citizens not to travel to Uganda.
Alarmed by the escalation, a coalition of three civil society organizations have sued Uganda and Rwanda in the East African Court of Justice over the border closure and other acts of hostility that they say are hurting ordinary citizens.