Tension as Rwanda blocks citizens from entering Uganda

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Mirama Hills Uganda-Kagitumba Rwanda One Stop Border Posts

Rwanda-Uganda tensions continued to simmer Thursday when the tiny neighbouring nation blocked its people as well as Ugandan trucks from crossing the border.

A source at the Kagitumba/Mirama Hills border posts in Ntungamo district told edge.ug that Rwandans were being picked out of buses coming to Uganda and blocked from crossing the border.

“I’m not sure what is going on. We see Rwandans being ordered out of buses and told to say in their side of the border,” a source told this website Thursday afternoon.

While responding to the matter, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, said “under the spirit of the East African integration, they [Rwanda] shouldn’t be preventing their people from crossing”.

“I don’t know about the tensions being high, but what I know yesterday at around 6.00pm the authorities from Rwanda refused vehicles both private and public from entering Uganda,” Opondo noted.

He refuted high tensions between Uganda and Rwanda but instead called for calm.

Opondo said Rwandan officials claim they are constructing the road via Katuna and advised travellers to use Mirama hills.

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo

“If it was construction of the road, they wouldn’t have prevented their people from coming into the country,” Opondo added.

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) said cargo trucks from Uganda were being diverted at Katuna also known as Gatuna to pave the way for the upgrade of the one-stop border post.

“In view of the above, Rwanda Revenue Authority would like to inform you that with effect from February 28, 2019, all heavy trucks carrying goods destined and those transiting via Gatuna shall be temporarily diverted from using Gatuna Border Post to Kagitumba/Mirama Hills border posts,” reads a letter signed by Rosine Uwamariya, the Commissioner for Customs at RRA.

Both Kampala and Kigali accuse each other of espionage amid deteriorating diplomatic relations.

Kigali accuses Kampala of harassing its nationals through arrests and torture and has been advising Rwandans to restrict their travel to Uganda.

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