Uganda repatriates released Rwandan prisoners to ease tensions

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 12:35 |
Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda talks to some of the released Rwandan prisoners after their release by the Uganda Government, in Kampala, capital of Uganda, Jan. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Joseph Kiggundu)


Uganda on Wednesday handed over nine Rwandan nationals released by a military court to ease tensions between the two neighboring countries. 

Sam Kutesa, Uganda's foreign affairs minister handed over the freed prisoners to immigration authorities in the presence of Frank Mugambage, Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda. 

Kutesa said the gesture is in line with the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding signed between Uganda and Rwanda on the normalization of the relations between the two countries. 

"We have withdrawn the charges against these nine people. We are doing this as a political move to ease the tensions between our two countries," said Kutesa at the handover ceremony in the capital Kampala. 

"To withdraw charges is an act of goodwill which we consider and hope will be reciprocated by the Rwanda government by dealing with other issues we have raised with them," he said. 

Uganda's General Court Martial on Tuesday set free nine Rwandese who were facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The move followed the prosecution losing interest in the case. 

Mugambage said the release and handover is a step in the right direction and called for the end of arbitrary arrests of Rwandese who visit Uganda. 

The handover came in the wake of negotiations by the two neighboring countries to end close to a year of misunderstandings. 

Last year, Rwanda closed its common border with Uganda alleging that the latter was incarcerating its citizens. Uganda denied the allegations. (Xinhua)

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