Uganda-Rwanda border at Gatuna still closed despite opening notice

Uganda-Rwanda border at Gatuna still closed despite opening notice

The process of clearing trucks on the Uganda-Rwanda border at Gatuna is yet to start despite an announcement of a partial border opening Monday 10th, June 2019 morning.

Rwanda Revenue Authority announced Sunday night that the area will be open from today June 10, 2019, to June 22, 2019. According to an announcement signed by Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali, the Commissioner General Rwanda Revenue Authority, the partial opening is aimed at carrying out trials for heavy trucks movement on Gatuna One Stop Border Post (OSBP) and to assess the operationalization of the constructed works and equipment before the reception of works.

But, our reporter at the border says the situation has not yet changed. The border is still closed, Rwandan military is patrolling the area, and there is still no sign that the process of clearing vehicles is about to start.

Katuna Town Council Chairman Nelson Nshangabasheija told our reporter that the letter was received with excitement and the hope that business would resume with immediate effect. However, he adds, there is no sign of opening as yet.

According to Nshangabasheija, by 10:30 a.m. on Monday, no truck had been cleared to cross and Rwandan security officials were still patrolling the border and restricting locals from crossing to Uganda.

Read Also: Rwanda opens Uganda-Rwanda border at Katuna for heavy trucks

Edward Muhereza, a money changer at Katuna border says that none of the trucks has been cleared to cross the border. He, however, expresses optimism that the announcement will be put into effect as time goes on.

Uganda has openly been on tension with Rwanda since February 27, 2019, after Rwanda closed its borders, to purportedly expedite the construction of the single customs post at Gatuna border. Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama Hills.

However, Rwandan officials including President Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas. They also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which have declared war on the Kigali government.

During the same time, Rwandan citizens were advised against travelling to Uganda, an advisory which was followed with the destruction of all temporary bridges near the border.