Protests, as Katuna Businessman is re-arrested




Business and transport was on Thursday stranded at the Uganda-Rwanda border post of Katuna in Kabale District as locals demonstrate demanding answers from Rwandan authorities about the circumstances surrounding the re-arrest of a prominent businessman.

Justus Tweyogyere alias Mwana Muto, a prominent money changer at Katuna border post was re-arrested by Rwanda police detectives on Saturday  while at the No man’s land at the border, before he was whisked away to Kigali.

Tweyongyere was at first arrested on 20th November this yearby unidentified gunmen soon after depositing 40,000,000 Rwandan Franc (about Shs 170 million) in Bank of Kigali, Gatuna branch in Northern Province, Gicumbi district and whisked away to unknown destination.  Rwanda Police later admitted to have been behind his arrest for being in possession of a sum of money exceeding the ceiling of US $10,000 without declaring it to customs. He was a day after released.

However, Tweyongyere’s re-arrest sparked demonstrations where locals and money changers closed the border and resisted vehicles and Rwanda national to cross to Uganda.

All Rwanda nationals who were carrying out small businesses in Katuna were also forced to flee fort their lives after angry locals attempted to lynch them.

Osbert Tumuramye, one of the concerned locals says the blocking of the border is a sign to show unhappiness by the way Rwanda police arrested Tweyongyere.

He says that there is no longer any reasons for Rwandan nationals to cross to Uganda and are given a warm welcome, yet whenever Ugandans are mistreated while in Rwanda. Tumuramye says that as locals they are tired of harassment by Rwandan security officials whenever Uganda crosses to even visit their relatives.

Gift Akampurira, a daughter to Tweyongyere says that ever since the news about the re-arrest of their father was confirmed, they have also remained on tension. She wants Rwanda police to either release her father or reveal the reasons behind his arrest and where he is arrested from.

Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Mayor for Katuna town council, who was leading a demonstration, accuses Rwanda police for treating Ugandans like frogs, by harassing them, yet East African Community integration allows free movement and interaction across East African Countries.

Robert Mutuku a trailer driver, who was heading to Kigali-Rwanda from Mombasa Kenya was found stranded at the border due to the demonstration. Mutuku says that the protests forced him to enter into extra costs of buying food. He pleads that President Yoweri Museveni and Paul kagame need to sit and resolve border conflicts.

Police under the Command of Zadock Kageera, the Officer-in-Charge of Katuna Police Station failed to control angry protesters.

Anti-riot Police from, Kabale Police Station, under the command of the Kabale District Police Commander, Dickens Bindeeba intervened and dispersed the protesters.

By 01:00pm all buses and long vehicles were still stranded and police was still in running battles with angry locals and money changers.

Commissioner of Police Denis Namuwooza, the Kigezi Region Police Commander says that there is no way how police can allow locals to close the border on such a small issue. Namuwooza however admits that security official in kabale district were not informed about the arrest of Tweyongyere yet he was on No man’s land.

He however calls for calm saying that security will follow up the matter.

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