Africa

'Uganda expels 342 Rwandans for 'spreading COVID-19'

Deported citizens say Ugandan authorities did not even test them for coronavirus, reports Rwandan daily

27.03.2020
'Uganda expels 342 Rwandans for 'spreading COVID-19'

ANKARA

Nearly 350 Rwandans living in Uganda have been expelled by Ugandan authorities over charges of “spreading the coronavirus,” Rwandan local media reported on Friday.

A total of 342 Rwandan citizens had been left at “ungazetted entry points” to Rwanda’s Northern Province by Thursday evening, daily The New Times quoted local officials as saying.

The report quoted social media posts by some of the deported Rwandan citizens saying that Ugandan authorities, mainly the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), had accused them of spreading COVID-19 without even testing them for the virus.

“UPDF officers accused us of being coronavirus carriers without carrying out any test, they insisted on saying that Rwandan nationals are no longer needed on Uganda territory and that’s the main reason we were forced to leave,” the daily quoted one the victims as saying.

“The officers are everywhere hunting down Rwandans to be expelled, no explanation, it is hard to escape them given the fact that they are so aggressive about whoever is from Rwanda.”

According to the daily, most of the expelled Rwandans had lawful businesses or worked as casual laborers in Uganda.

The deported citizens are currently in the Northern Province’s Burera and Gicumbi districts and have been tested for COVID-19 by local authorities, the report said.

Relations between the two neighboring countries soured early last year, following accusations and counter-accusations of espionage and political meddling.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 176 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 553,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll above 25,000 and over 127,500 recoveries.

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