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Johannesburg – Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda have been further stoked as the two countries trade accusations following the killing of two men on the border over the weekend.

On Sunday Kigali denied assertions by Kampala that Rwandan soldiers had entered Ugandan territory and unjustifiably killed two men stating that Rwandan officers had opened fire in self-defence after the two individuals attacked them with machetes after they crossed into Rwanda from Uganda, the East African reported.

Ugandan authorities, however, offered a different version of Friday night’s incident, which took place a border post near the Ugandan village of Kiruhura in Rukiga district in the west of the country.

Ugandan Police spokesman Fred Enanga said that one of the victims had resisted attempts by the Rwandan soldiers to arrest him and was then shot in the head killing him. 

Another Ugandan who tried to help the first man by intervening was also shot dead before the soldiers then retreated back into Rwanda.

The porous borders between the East African neighbours are exploited by smugglers who often cross backwards and forwards illegally.

This dangerous escalation follows on the heels of deteriorating relations between the two countries after Rwanda partially closed its border with Uganda in February leading to congestion as trucks with goods, students, businessmen and other travellers were stranded.

Things worsened in March when Rwandan President Paul Kagame openly accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his government of supporting Rwandan rebels who want to overthrow Kagame’s regime.

Museveni says he met with some of the rebels but is not supporting them and has counter-accused Rwanda of sending spies into the country. Both sides have arrested and deported citizens from the other country.

There has also been a partial deployment of troops by both countries on their respective borders.

African News Agency (ANA)