Uganda police and Tanzanian authorities have dispatched a team to Kagera to search for two Rwandan immigrants who reportedly drowned in River Kagera. More than 3,500 Rwandans who have lived in Biharamuro, Ngara, Karagwe and Mureba districts in Tanzania since the 1960s have so far been expelled from Tanzania. Most of them have gone to Rwanda, while some have crossed the border to Uganda.
The incident happened on Wednesday near Kagera Sugar factory in Kagera region, some 27 kilometers away from Mutukula border post. Francis Gakumba, the leader of Rwandan immigrants in the area told Uganda Radio Network on phone that the immigrants, whose identities are not known, were allegedly fleeing Tanzania security officials when they drowned in the river. He says their bodies have not yet been seen. According to him, it is highly unlikely to find their bodies given the existence of crocodiles in this river.
Gakumba explains that he received a phone call from Kagera Sugar officials that some two Rwandan nationals had drowned and that some of their animals were stolen. He says that when he reached there, they only found about ten cows which have been handed over to Tanzanian police. He says they are now trying to establish the families of the victims to get their particulars.
Gakumba suspects the victims could have been pushed into the river because Tanzanian police is using excessive force to expel all foreign nationals from the area including Ugandans and Burundians.
Fred Sooma, the Rakai District Police Commander, says he has dispatched a team of police officers from the Ugandan Side of Kagera to search for the victims. He says they are working hand in hand with the Tanzanian authorities to see if they can retrieve the bodies.
Kakuuto County MP Mathias Kasamba says many Rwandan immigrants are crossing into Uganda via River Kagera for fear of being blocked from entering the country instead of using known routes.
More than 3,500 Rwandans who have lived in Biharamuro, Ngara, Karagwe and Mureba districts in Tanzania since the 1960s have so far been expelled from Tanzania. Most of them have gone to Rwanda, while some have crossed the border to Uganda.
According to Godfrey Maate, the Officer in Charge of Mutukula, although 1700 Rwandan immigrants are believed to have entered Uganda, only 500 have so far been registered. He says majority of them are crossing through dangerous areas including Malamagambo forest in Minziiro, where some of their animals have been attacked by wild animals.
Maate however says they have dispatched a team to ensure that all those entering are registered before they are allowed to settle into the country. On Wednesday, some 450 registered refugees were temporarily relocated to Sango Bay Air Strip as government looks for another place to resettle them.