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Rwandese Cattle Cleared to Enter Uganda at UGX50k, Sold to DR Congo at 5m

Godfrey Nyakahuma, Kabale Resident District Commissioner told our reporter that the smuggling of cattle has persisted due to the silent benefit of local leaders at the border. Nyakahuma discloses that security investigations have established that local leaders earn 50,000 Shillings for each cow they cleared.
A markstone that separates Uganda and Rwanda (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 5



Security officials in Kabale district have busted a racket under which local leaders along the border have continued to clear smuggled cattle from Rwanda. 

  

Despite the closure of the Uganda-Rwanda border since February 2019 on orders of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame and ordering Rwandans not to cross to Uganda, Rwandan nationals in August this year introduced the venture of smuggling cattle to Uganda.   

The cattle are mostly smuggled into Uganda from the neighboring districts of Gicumbi and Burera in the Northern Province of Rwanda. 

Last month, Kabale district officials heightened security in form of full-time deployment of Uganda Peoples Defense Forces soldiers along the border to curb the vice which had raised security concerns.  

However, the full-time deployment of security did not completely stop the smuggling.

Godfrey Nyakahuma, Kabale Resident District Commissioner told our reporter today (Thursday) that the smuggling of cattle has persisted due to the silent benefit of local leaders at the border. 

Nyakahuma disclosed that security investigations have established that each cow is cleared by local leaders at 50,000 shillings. He says that local leaders clear the cows by deceiving that they have been bought from the Ugandan side.    

Nyakahuma says that investigations have also found out that after clearing the cattle, they are transported to the Democratic Republic of Congo -DRC where each is sold at 5 million shillings or more.

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He explains that despite the full-time deployment of the army and police officers at the border, they are unable to cover all porous borders due to the hilly terrain of Kabale. As a result, local leaders are taking advantage of dealing with smugglers to enable the crossing of the cattle. 

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Nyakahuma also says that the investigations have shown that the money accrued from the illegal livestock trade from Rwanda to DRC is secretly brought back to Uganda to fund subversive activities, causing national security concerns. 

He says that as security, they have already held high-profile meetings that involved other security officials from districts of Kigezi to forge a way forward stop the illegal business.

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Moses Bikkorwomuhangi, the district councilor representing the border sub-county of Maziba says that smuggling cattle from Rwanda to Uganda through the porous borders of Maziba sub county is very common.

Bikorwomunagi says that he has no statistics because it is done on a daily basis. He says that what worries him most is that many smuggled cattle are stolen from Rwanda, moreover. 

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But, Nelson Nshangabasheija, Kabale District LC5 Chairman, and Match Boaz, District councilor representing the border sub-county of Rubaya say that security needs to first put enough measures of separating traders who are buying cattle from genuine farmers in the sub-counties neighboring the border instead of rushing to pin everybody. 

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