Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister handed over the freed prisoners to immigration authorities in the presence of Frank Mugambage, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda.
According to Kutesa, the gesture is in line with the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding signed between Uganda and Rwanda on the normalisation of the relations between the two countries.
“We have withdrawn the charges against these nine people.
“We are doing this as a political move to ease the tensions between our two countries,’’ Kutesa said at the handover ceremony in Kampala.
According to him, to withdraw charges is an act of goodwill which Uganda considers and hopes will be reciprocated by the Rwanda government by dealing with other issues it has raised with them.
Uganda’s General Court Martial set nine Rwandese free on Tuesday, who were facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
The move followed the prosecution losing interest in the case.
Mugambage said the release and handover is a step in the right direction and called for the end of arbitrary arrests of Rwandese who visit Uganda.
The handover came in the wake of negotiations by the two neighbouring countries to end close to a year of misunderstandings.
In 2019, Rwanda closed its common border with Uganda alleging that the latter was incarcerating its citizens.
However, Uganda denied the allegations.