Tension as Rwanda closes borders with Uganda

Several Rwanda bound trucks and passenger buses remained stuck at the Katuna border, the major entry point into Rwanda from Uganda without an official communication from either sides of the border.

Soon, the Rwanda Revenue Authority  (RRA) communicated to its Ugandan counterparts, announcing the diversion of traffic to other border crossings “to allow completion of the one stop border point (OSBP) infrastructure.”

“In view of the above, Rwanda Revenue Authority would like to inform you that with effect from 28th February 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.

This was however disputed by the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo who told journalists in Kampala that the issue was beyond construction of a road.

According to Opondo, Rwanda had denied entry to both private and public vehicles crossing from Uganda.

Opondo also questioned the explanation by Rwanda’s Revenue Authority (RRA) that cargo trucks from Uganda were prevented from crossing the border at Katuna because of a planned upgrade of the border post.

‘‘If it was construction of the road they wouldn’t have prevented their people from coming into the country,’‘ Opondo said, further claiming that Rwandan school children who cross the border everyday to attend school in Uganda were blocked from crossing.

Uganda government spokesman Ofwono Opondo

Transporters like Modern Coast, a bus service that connects the major cities in the East African Community announced on Twitter that it had temporarily stopped its operations between Kampala and Kigali.

“Dear travelers,kindly note that Katuna Border(Uganda-Rwanda border point) has been closed temporarily,do note that this will affect travel into and out of Rwanda.We will update you on further developments.Thank you,” reads the tweet.

Relations between Rwanda and Ugandan have recently become soiled by counter accusations of espionage and engaging in activities to destabilise each other.

Ugandan recently deported several top telecommunications officials including a Rwandan national, accusing them of compromising its national security.