Uganda expels 342 Rwandans for allegedly spreading COVID-19
London, March 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Nearly 350 Rwandans living in Uganda have been expelled by Ugandan authorities over charges of “spreading the coronavirus,” Rwandan local media have reported
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.
From the beginning of this week, Rwandan nationals started arriving home, one after the other, until the number turned 200 on Wednesday 25, according to Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, Governor of the Northern Province.
“From the beginning of this week, our citizen started arriving through Cyanika and Gatuna borders. When you ask them, they all say, they were dissmissed by Uganda police on allegation that they are propagating coonavirus,” Governor Gatabazi said.
According to Gatabazi, the number has now increased to 342 and they were quarantined as any person arriving in Rwanda. They are quarantined for a-14 day period in Burera and Gicumbi districts of the Northern Province.
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.
The data shows more than 553,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll above 25,000 and over 127,500 recoveries.
The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 30,000 on Saturday, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The virus known as COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 177 countries and regions around the globe, with a total of 652,079 confirmed cases worldwide and 30,313 deaths.
A total of 137,319 people diagnosed with the virus have so far recovered globally.
Italy, Spain, China and Iran continue to be the most affected countries in terms of deaths, but the U.S. tops the list of the highest number of confirmed cases — 116,505.
Italy recorded the most deaths with 10,023 fatalities with nearly 92,500 cases, while Spain reported 5,812 deaths and over 72,200 confirmed cases. China, the ground zero of the virus, followed Spain with 3,299 deaths and nearly 82,000 cases.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Iran reached 2,517 and the total number of cases surpassed 35,400 in the country