Home Politics Ugandan smuggler arrested in Rwanda as Kampala media falsely claim “kidnap”

Ugandan smuggler arrested in Rwanda as Kampala media falsely claim “kidnap”

By Jean Gatera

Levi Byamuhangi, a Uganda that was arrested for smuggling dangerous substances into Rwanda is now in Covid-19 isolation.

A Ugandan called Levi Byomuhangi – whom Kampala media like the Commandpost website have been claiming was “kidnapped by Rwanda” – is in custody following arrest for attempting to smuggle into Rwanda 27 litres of Kanyanga (what they call “waragi” in Uganda), also classified an illegal drug in Rwanda. “No one kidnapped Levi Byomuhangi,” a Rwandan border official told this website. “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,” the 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.

Read: Rwanda would welcome a travel advisory against Ugandan smugglers

Ugandan media, “as they always do when their citizens engage into criminality, have chosen to publish a very misleading story,” a second Rwandan official remarked.

Far from being “kidnapped”, it has been revealed that Byomuhangi was taken to an isolation facility in Byumba – in line with Covid-19 precautions – but will be handed over to law enforcement authorities afterwards.

CommandPost, one of the several websites that have been exposed as existing solely as vessels of Kampala’s anti-Rwanda propaganda and misinformation campaign, did not disclose any of the facts that came to light about Byomuhangi’s smuggling activities. Commandpost, which is one of the several websites under the control of Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI), published claims that Byomuhangi – of Katuna Town Council in Kabale District – was “kidnapped from his garden.”

“That is simply provocative lying; Byomuhangi, was arrested in Rwanda and the claims of kidnap are the usual hostile Ugandan propaganda,” one of our sources said with emphasis, adding: “he will soon be charged and details of his crimes become public.”

Read: Armed Ugandan smuggler shot while attempting to fight security personnel

Rwandan authorities have been advising anyone wanting to do business or trade to do it legitimately, through recognized border points, and in broad daylight.

“That is the only solution, because law-breaking will never be tolerated in Rwanda,” Rwandan officials emphasize.

Rwandan authorities are also extra-vigilant about Illegal border crossings to Uganda as these “panya” routes have been used by infiltrators, or militias of rebel groups working to destabilize the security of Rwanda. As recently as October last year, militias of the RUD-Urunana rebel group perpetrated a terror attack in Kinigi, killing 14 civilians before Rwandan security put them out of action. The four that managed to escape used the same illegal crossings, to vanish into Uganda.

Rwandan security authorities say anyone imagining they can use such paths – whether to enter to perpetrate terror, or to smuggle – are “seriously deceiving themselves.”

“Rwanda will never compromise on its security!” the authorities have repeatedly stressed.

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