In the wee hours of Wednesday last week, Rwanda military patrolling the border at Bugarama sector in the southwestern district of Rusizi shot and killed two people suspected to be “infiltrators” from Burundi. The spokesperson of Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) did on Thursday confirm the report, saying that the two were shot after they defied an order to stop. The incident has resulted in the two countries tightening security on the border.
“There were about four to five people who infiltrated Rwanda territory and when the soldiers tried to approach them, they did not co-operate,” said Lt Col René Ngendahimana.
Lt Col Ngendahimana said that the area where they were was prone to attacks by “bandits” from Burundi. The army said that unknown people from Burundi had previously shot a citizen in the area.
“The area where the incident happened had recently experienced an attack by unknown people from Burundi, who shot and harmed a citizen guarding his plantation. When the civilian inquired about their identity, one of the men shot him in the leg and disappeared. Hence the army has been on the alert in this area,” Lt Col Ngendahimana said.
The army said that the intention was not to kill but to apprehend the unknown people but incidentally two people were killed in the process and it was discovered at dawn that they were civilians from Burundi.
It is not yet clear what the shot people had entered Rwanda to do. The army states that investigations are still ongoing to determine what their intentions were.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated further over the past month, after Burundi decided to ban exports to Rwanda and restricted border movement. Rwanda imports mainly fruits and vegetables, cassava flour and silver fish from Burundi. Bujumbura defended the decision as a move to bolster its own food security. However angry Burundian officials said that Burundi cannot continue to supply food to a country which is plotting to destabilise it.
Source: The East African