‘Arrest’ of Uganda govt official linked to Uganda-Rwanda relations
The whereabouts of a Uganda government official remain unknown two days after he was picked up by security personnel in what sources say are matters linked to relations with Rwanda.
Obed Katureebe, a public affairs officer at the Uganda Media Centre (UMC), a government bureau that coordinates information flow between ministries and other state agencies, was picked up by Ugandan security operatives at his home in Kyanja, a Greater Kampala suburb, on Monday.
His family has since been unable to reach him.
Without giving any details, the UMC boss Ofwono Opondo on Tuesday tweeted: “Obed is under security protection because of threats allegedly against his person details of which am yet to be provided with. I have been assured that he’s safe and not under arrest.”
Mr Katureebe has been on the radar of the Rwandan government, which accuses him, alongside other elements in Uganda, of engaging in hateful media propaganda that is critical of the Paul Kagame administration.
Relations between Uganda and Rwanda deteriorated in 2017 when Kigali accused its neighbour of harbouring groups hostile to it and torturing innocent Rwandans on its soil.
Katureebe’s detention could signal progress of relations between the two countries, which have been on the mend since the start of this year with the involvement of Uganda’s First Son and Commander of Land Forces Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba making two trips to Kigali.
Gen Muhoozi’s efforts have largely paid off, resulting in President Paul Kagame visiting Kampala last month – the first time in four years – to attend Muhoozi’s much publicised birthday party on April 24.
Muhoozi’s trips have also resulted in the removal of key Uganda Peoples Defence Forces military officers that Rwanda said were behind the torture of its citizens, reopening of Gatuna border post and release of Rwandan nationals, but full relations are yet to normalise as Kigali says some issues remain unresolved.
In addition, despite the reopening of the border in February, free movement of persons and goods is still restricted and only limited cargo trucks are allowed to cross the border.