Rwanda closes border with Uganda over hostility – official

Buses at the Rwandan-Ugandan border. Photo : URN

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Rwandan authorities had attributed the closure of the one-stop land border with Uganda to road maintenance, but ADV has learned Tuesday that Rwanda’s action was due to hostility from Uganda.

On Monday, hundreds of vehicles remained blocked for a week while waiting for a green light to enter Rwanda, causing untold suffering to passengers and millions of dollars of losses in perishable goods.

The closure of the border comes against the backdrop of simmering tensions between the two neighbours with Kigali accusing Kampala of aiding dissidents fighting to bring down the government of President Paul Kagame.

On Friday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Richard Sezibera released a tweet warning his compatriots against travelling to Uganda due to what he called “hostility” from its neighbor.

ADV learned from Uganda’s Internal Security Organization (ISO) officials and locals at Katuna border crossing point that Rwanda Defense Force troops were heavily deployed along the border.

The deployment is visible in the hills at Mukaniga, Byumba and Buganza, ISO claimed.

There is also a heavy troop presence on the Rwandan side of the border near the town of Chanika in Kisoro district.

Local media on Monday quoted Uganda’s Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to normalise the flow of traffic along the border.

Meanwhile business runs along the common border have been hitting dead ends since the decision by Rwanda to unilaterally close the border.

The African Press Agency correspondent at the crossing point, says truck drivers have been stranded for a sixth day on Monday as Rwanda maintains a border blockade at Gatuna and Chanika posts as witnesses on the Ugandan side of the border speak of Rwandan troop movements along nearby hills.

Loaded trucks from Uganda have formed up to a kilometer and half-long queue from the Katuna border waiting to cross to the other side.

The sources quoted the Commissioner of Customs for the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Dickson Kateshumbwa, as saying that he has written to his counterpart in Rwanda urging him to quickly find a resolution of the current impasse at the Katuna border post.

© Bur-csa – A.H – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng