Illegal Rwandan immigrants are causing jitters in neighboring countries, with Uganda and Kenya reporting groups of people from Rwanda finding their way into their countries in recent days, most of them economic migrants but also some fugitive criminals.
Last week, Uganda deported two Rwandan men wanted for different crimes, while Kenya arrested Rwandan and Burundian nationals as they attempted to register as voters.
Boniface Ndimubanzi, a genocide suspect, and Valence Ndikuryayo, a suspected fraudster, were handed over by Uganda police to Rwandan authorities on February 21 at the Gatuna border crossing after they were arrested on Interpol warrants.
In Kenya, Gervaiz Hakizimana, disguising himself as Geoffrey Kimutai Kigen, and Olivier Hagenimana, who had acquired the name Peter Kipkemboi Rop, were arrested with forged documents in Elgeyo Marakwet trying to register as voters.
Reasons for migration
An Immigration official who spoke to The EastAfrican on condition of anonymity noted that most Rwandans crossing into Uganda are looking for employment and land to farm.
“They are told that in parts of central Uganda there is free and fertile land that they can lease at a small fee,” the official said, adding that many of these illegal immigrants move with their entire families.
Rwandan and Ugandan police this week held bilateral talks focusing on strengthening the already existing co-operation in various areas of policing and fighting cross-border crimes in particular.
Under the arrangement, the countries will be exchanging suspects and illegal individuals arrested in either country. Uganda has extradited a number of genocide suspects to Rwanda over the past 22 years.
At the end of January, authorities in southwestern Uganda had arrested at least 60 Rwandans who were suspected of having illegally entered Uganda.