Uganda protests Rwandan military incursion

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Uganda protested an incursion by Rwandan soldiers on its territory it said resulted in two deaths, a development that could inflame tense relations between the neighbours.

Two Rwandan soldiers entered Ugandan territory in Rukiga on Friday in pursuit of a suspected smuggler, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

They shot dead a Rwandan and a Ugandan, it said.

“Uganda protests in the strongest terms the violation of its territorial integrity by Rwandan soldiers and the criminal, brutal and violent act by the Rwandan soldiers, on Ugandan territory against unarmed civilians,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The ministry demands action be taken against the perpetrators of this attack.”

According to the ministry the soldiers entered Uganda while pursuing a Rwandan national suspected of smuggling. After soldiers caught up with the man just inside Ugandan territory, he resisted arrest and was shot. The soldiers then shot a Ugandan man who attempted to intervene, the ministry said.

Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, was not immediately available for comment.

Relations between the countries have been strained since February over economic and political disagreements.

At the end of February, Rwanda started blocking Ugandan cargo trucks from entering at Katuna, the busiest crossing on the two nations’ border. Authorities in Kigali also stopped the country’s nationals travelling to Uganda.

Kigali accused Kampala of supporting rebel groups opposed to president Paul Kagame’s government, including the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the FDLR.

Kampala in turn accused Rwanda of effectively imposing a trade embargo on Uganda.

Rwanda depends for much of its imports on a trade route through Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean seaport Mombasa. The same transport artery is also a pipeline for goods from Kenya and Uganda to Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.