Pregnant Rwandan woman dies crossing into Uganda to buy food

A pregnant Rwandan woman, 35, yesterday collapsed and died as Rwandan soldiers were chasing her to block her from crossing into Uganda.

The woman reportedly collapsed on the Ugandan side of the border at Kyanika. Eyewitnesses said the woman, identified as Elizabeth Mukarurwiza, 35, was crossing into Uganda to buy food through an ungazetted entry point at a place called Mugitari.

According to her colleagues, Mukarurwiza, a mother of three, was seven months pregnant. She was from Kinigi in Rubavu district in Rwanda.

According to Abel Ngabonzima, an eyewitness, the Rwanda soldiers saw the woman sneak into Uganda together with other Rwandans. The soldiers chased them and in the process, Mukarurwiza collapsed. On realising that she was unconscious, the soldiers picked her national identity card and went back to the Rwanda side.

The woman’s colleagues made an alarm, which attracted residents of Rukoro in Kisoro district. The residents carried the body to Kyanika border yard, where it was later picked by Police for a postmortem examination.

Uganda security, led by Capt. Peter Mugisha, the Residents District Commissioner, (RDC) contacted the Rwandan border authorities at Kyanika to come and witness the postmortem, but they refused, saying they needed clearance from Kigali.

Mugisha said the Rwanda Defence Force soldiers had crossed the border line to Uganda for about 200 metres as they chased the woman. He said they will engage Rwandan officials to sensitise their security officers deployed at the border.

He condemned the act of Rwanda Defence Force for threatening to kill people who had already crossed to Uganda.

The Uganda Red Cross yesterday confirmed the incident, saying it unsuccessfully tried to save the life of the Rwandan pregnant woman.

“We were approached by a Police officer to run and give first aid to a woman who had collapsed at Kyanika border. When we reached the scene, she was unconscious. A few minutes into the process, she breathed her last,”

Ronald Kanyerezi, the area Uganda Red Cross branch manager, said in a statement. Red Cross has volunteers deployed at Kyanika border to screen people entering Uganda for Ebola.

“It is alleged that the woman was, being chased by security officials from Rwanda who wanted to stop her from crossing to Uganda. In the process, she got tired and collapsed,” the URC statement said.