The deportees were arrested in a joint security operation involving the army and police in the areas of Russia, MuLine and Karumena in Kisoro district in the wee hours of Monday morning. The operation netted more than 200 people, some of who did not have any identification document.
After a screening exercise, most of them were released, while 39 of them, who were found to have entered Uganda illegally were arraigned before Kisoro Grade one magistrate, Raphael Vueni, on Tuesday and were charged with illegal entry into the country.
Three Rwandan suspects and a DRC national pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded to Kisoro government prison until December 18, 2019. The remaining 35 suspects pleaded guilty and asked for a pardon.
Magistrate Vueni remanded them to prison until yesterday Wednesday. Upon their appearance, the magistrate ordered Ugandan security and immigration teams to deport them to their respective countries saying that they should have followed proper procedures, to stay in Uganda.
However, Rwanda's New Times publication, on Tuesday reported that the operation was targeting Rwandans. According to the New Times, the suspects were gathered in one place, screened and then bundled onto garbage trucks which drove them to Kisoro police station. The New Times also claimed that some of those arrested were found to be DRC or Tanzanian nationals, who were subsequently set free.
But, Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro resident district commissioner says that the operation is aimed at reducing rampant cases of murder, rape, robbery and theft among others in Kisoro district. According to Mugisha, residents had resorted to dispensing mob justice while accusing security agencies of failing to identify suspected criminals. About two weeks back, Rwanda deported three Ugandan nationals over illegal entry after shooting dead two over alleged smuggling.
Uganda and Rwanda have been at loggerheads since the beginning of this year when the Kigali administration closed the one-stop border post at Gatuna.