Ugandan children stranded in Rwanda

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th December 2010 03:00 AM

TWO Ugandan children are stuck in Rwanda as both the Kigali and Kampala governments search for their relatives.

By Darious Magara
and Frank Mugabi

TWO Ugandan children are stuck in Rwanda as both the Kigali and Kampala governments search for their relatives.

The sisters were discovered in northern Rwanda in October 2009. They remember living in Kakindu in Jinja town with their grandmother called Edinansi Namakula. They failed to name the parents.

Olivia Kirabo, 8 and Leticia Happy Sanyu, 7, have since secured temporary shelter at an orphanage in Gisimba in Kigali, Rwanda, where they are also attending school.

Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Richard Kabonero yesterday said the sisters were found roaming in Musanze district in the Northern Province on October 1, 2009.

Kabonero said his office was in touch with the Ugandan foreign affairs ministry to try and locate the girls’ family.

According to Kabonero, the children speak only Kinyarwanda, the dialect used in Kigali.

Kabonero has appealed to any one with information about the children’s family to contact his office on telephone +250252503537 or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kampala.

In Jinja town, the Central West parish defence secretary, Jamal Mwondha, said his office had not registered any missing children since he assumed office in 1986.

“This is the second time we are getting government officials approached us with similar information, but our search among residents was fruitless. No one could identify them from the photographs we showed around.

“Kakindu is a small place. We moved house to house together with the LC1 chairperson of Gabula village, Omar Suraiya, but none of the people could recall children or an old woman with those names,” Mwondha said.

He said they placed announcements on a public address system in Walukuba East village, but got no response.

“The only cases we get from time to time are of housemaids who complain of harassment from their bosses or non-payment of their salaries, which we record and forward to the Police. Otherwise, this has been a very calm area,” she said.

Jinja Central West parish, under which Kakindu falls, is largely a residential area comprising former Ministry of Works staff quarters that were sold off to civil servants.

Other premises belonged to the departed Indians, which the indigenous people bought off. Some of these houses have been reclaimed and renovated.

This, according to Mwondha, forced many people to shift from the area to places like Mbiko, Mpumudde and Walukuba.

“When people shift, we are not notified and this creates a problem in monitoring the residents,” Mwondha said.

Jinja probation officer Opio Ouma said his office had not registered any missing children from Kakindu or with the names of Olivia Kirabo or Leticia Happy Sanyu.

At Jinja Central Police Station, which is just next to Kakindu, the officers in the family protection unit requested for more time to check their records.

Ugandan children stranded in Rwanda

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