Africa

Rwanda, Uganda to mutually release prisoners

Both parties must continue to protect, respect human rights of other's citizens, says communique signed in summit

James Tasamba   | 02.02.2020
Rwanda, Uganda to mutually release prisoners

KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwanda and Uganda agreed on Sunday to release each other's nationals and cease support for elements seeking to destabilize the other.

In a communique released following a meeting in the Angolan capital Luanda, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni pledged to take steps towards peace, stability, good neighborly relations and restoring mutual trust.

"The summit agreed to the release of the national citizens of each country duly identified and included in the lists exchanged," said the communique.

It held both countries to "refrain from all factors that may create the perception of supporting, financing, training, and infiltration of destabilizing forces in their neighbor's territory."

"Both parties must continue to protect and respect the human rights of the national citizens of the other party," it added.

The meeting facilitated by President Joao Lourenco of Angola and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo sought an end to a standoff between the two countries.

The communique slated a follow-up summit at Gatuna, Rwanda near the country's border with Uganda on Feb. 21.

Relations between the two East African countries soured early last year following tit-for-tat accusations of espionage and political meddling.

At the height of the tensions last year, Rwanda abruptly blocked the main border gate between the two countries, which it said was for construction purposes.

Rwanda also stopped its citizens from crossing to Uganda over allegations of arbitrary detentions of Rwandans and torture in Uganda -- accusations Kampala denies.

Kagame and Museveni signed a Memorandum of Understanding last August in Luanda to end hostilities.

Nine Rwandans were released by a Ugandan military court last month after the prosecution indicated it had lost interest in the case, a move Rwanda welcomed as "a good step" towards normalizing relations.

The group had been held on separate charges related to illegal possession of firearms since August 2017.

There are more than 100 Rwandans incarcerated in Uganda, according to Rwandan officials.

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