By Jackson Mutabazi
Two Ugandan smugglers have reportedly been shot to death in Rwanda in another incident that underscores the growing desperation of Ugandans who, wishing to sell goods in Rwanda, resort to smuggling.
But before any investigation had been conducted to determine exactly what happened, yesterday several Kampala websites including the Daily Monitor (which is no-longer distinguishable from the other misinformation sites), Softpower, ChimpReports, Commandpost and others had reacted.
Complemented by a number of anti-Rwanda Facebook accounts in the usual coordinated smears and attacks against Kigali, they were insinuating that “Rwanda had shot Ugandans in cold blood!”
The Kampala propaganda media – most of which are coordinated by organs such as the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI – were claiming the two dead men, identified as Job Ebyarishanga and Bosco Tuheirwe, were “businessmen”.
The Monitor headlined its article: “Two Ugandan businessmen shot in Rwanda.”
Going one better, Commandpost wrote: “Rwanda govt militia execute two Ugandan businessmen.” All the reports were in a similar vein. But the articles showed nothing to indicate these individuals were businessmen in the proper sense of the word.
Perhaps unintentionally however, the Monitor revealed the truth when it quoted one Mr. Ignatius Baketonda, the LCII Chairperson of Kyabuhangwa Parish in the Kamwezi sub-county of Rukiga District where the deceased were resident said: “one of the deceased, Tuheirwe is my nephew. I received information that he had been shot and killed together with a colleague inside Rwanda as they tried to smuggle raw tobacco.”
Softpower – which is known to be run by Sarah Kagingo, one of the Kampala regime misinformation specialists – said: “2 Ugandans shot dead by Rwandan army after Kagame says ‘Ugandans are welcome’”.
These people are just desperate to drag the Rwandan head of state into their dirt, a reader laughed. Ugandan local authorities themselves, from the area, had admitted the men were breaking the law by smuggling tobacco into Rwanda through an ungazetted border crossing.
According to Rwandan border authorities, on 10 November, yesterday, in the dark of the morning of 3 am police shot to death two smugglers. That was in Nyagatare District, in Tabagwe Village of the Tabagwe Sector. It happened when the two smugglers, who were with three others that ran away, acted aggressively, showing intentions of violently assaulting members of the security patrol.
Our sources said the smugglers became aggressive when the patrol stopped them as they carried three bundles of raw tobacco on three bicycles. At the time they were ordered to stop, the smugglers already were one kilometer within Rwandan territory. The dead bodies were then taken to Nyagatare Hospital while the tobacco was taken as exhibit by the Police.
The Ugandan propaganda media said the two were part of a group of five. But they decline to report the activities of the men as of a law-breaking nature. As with many cases before, other than the alarmist headlines and the smears against Rwandan authorities, if they fully reported the truth it would only incriminate the Ugandans.
It was very clear the dead Ugandans – and their three friends who ran away – were violating the law.
Authorities stress that when members of the security patrol shot the smugglers, they did so in self-defense and as the law stipulates.
“Ugandans using official border crossings are welcome in Rwanda, but smugglers? Never!” a border official that preferred to remain unnamed said.
Other than smugglers, Rwandan authorities are extra vigilant against members of rebel groups looking to use the porous cross border routes to perpetrate terrorist attacks in the country. Such an incident happened last month in Kinigi District when terrorists of the FDLR-RUD group crossed from the Ugandan side – according to the five of them that were captured alive – and killed 14 civilians, wounding 18 others.
Rwandan security forces quickly repulsed the attack, killing 19 of the terrorists and capturing the five who disclosed their terrorist ties to FDLR-RUD, and how they were recruited from Uganda.
“Rwanda shall not tolerate criminal smuggling, and it shall ensure no illegal armed groups cross through porous routes!” authorities have emphatically said.