Rwandan army abducts Ugandan soldier at border

Cyanika border post between Uganda and Rwanda

A border post between Uganda and Rwanda.

Photo credit: File | Morgan Mbabazi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The capture of the soldier comes in the wake of frosty relations between the neighbouring countries that deteriorated in February 2019 when Rwanda shut its major border with Uganda.

Ugandan officials have reported that Rwanda on Saturday took into custody a Ugandan soldier they found patrolling the border.

Kigali confirmed they had seized the unnamed soldier attached to the 35 battalion in Kisoro, a district in the Western region of Uganda, for allegedly straying into Rwandan territory.

Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, Mr Peter Mugisha, who doubles as the head of the district security committee, said: “One UPDF soldier was on Saturday evening captured by Rwandan army officials as he patrolled the Uganda-Rwanda border with his colleagues. The captured soldier remained behind to ease himself and by the time his colleagues turned back to check on him, they found that he was already abducted.” 

The Daily Monitor was unable to get a comment from the Rwandan Ambassador to Uganda. But Rwanda's Ministry of Defence confirmed the incident.

“He was dressed in UPDF camouflage uniform, armed with a medium machine gun with its 100 rounds, one binocular, one cell phone and his military identification documents. RDF is in the process of repatriating him,”  the ministry said in a statement yesterday. 

Frosty relations

The capture of the soldier comes in the wake of frosty relations between the neighbouring countries that deteriorated in February 2019 when Rwanda shut its major border with Uganda.

Mr Mugisha said shortly after the Saturday incident, he led a security team that met Rwandan army officials at Chyanika border post who postponed the meeting to yesterday morning. Later, however, the Rwandan soldiers declined to talk to them.

He said the daily border patrols were put in place to keep illegal immigrants from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo from entering Uganda after the official border points were closed as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The fact that we have been handing over Rwandan soldiers found taking alcohol in the border trading centres, we thought that in the same vein, they would hand over to us the Ugandan soldier that was abducted. We have now informed Kampala to use diplomatic means to rescue the kidnapped UPDF soldier,” Mr Mugisha said. 
 
Report by Robert Muhereza 

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