There is growing tension at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Chanika in Kisoro district following the reported arrest of a prominent businessman and the area Manager of Horizon Bus Company, Emmanuel Sebuzuru.
A Ugandan security official who sought anonymity told our reporter that Sebizuru was arrested by Rwandan security officials on Wednesday evening. He said that Sebizuru had crossed to Ruhengeri town in the Northern Province of Rwanda to pick company cash but was arrested before returning to the Ugandan side of the border.
Geoffrey Barore Nombe, the Chairman of traders at Chanika border says that Sebizuru had earlier in the day received a phone call from the Manager of Jaguar Bus Company in Ruhengeri town asking him to cross to Rwanda and pick money for banking, on behalf of his company.
Borore says that Sebizuru was cleared by both Uganda and Rwandan Immigration officials to cross to Ruhengeri to pick the money. However, he was intercepted at the border while crossing back to Uganda and questioned why he was carrying huge sums of Ugandan money. He reported had exchanged Rwandan francs worth 5 million Shillings.
Kisoro District Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Peter Mugisha said his office does not know why Mr. Sebuzuru, 55, was arrested.
“It’s not true that the bus manager was kidnapped from Uganda. He was tricked to cross to Rwanda where he was arrested. “The cause of his arrest is not clear,” Mr. Mugisha said.
However, Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage said that he is not aware of the incident.
“I am not aware at all,” Gen Mugambage said.
Mr. Joseph Muhoozi, the Nyakinama sub-county councilor, who is the elder brother of Mr. Sebuzuru, said security agencies in Rwanda assured them that he would be released but the promise has not been honored.
“Some sources say he has been transferred from the border holding cells to Kigali. We appeal to Ugandan authorities especially the ambassador of Uganda to Rwanda to help us locate where our relative is being detained and the crime he committed,” Mr. Muhoozi said.
Borore says that their efforts to secure Sebizuru’s release did not yield positive results. On Thursday evening, he was transferred from the border to Kigali for further questioning. According to traders, the arrest is an indication that Ugandans who still cross to Rwanda put their lives at risk.
Kisoro District Police Commander Charles Okotto expressed reservations on the matter. Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda on February 27, 2019, to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs post at Gatuna border. Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills. However, Rwandan officials including President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.