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Rwandan Border Closure Paralyses Business At Katuna, Chanika

The blockage of cargo trucks and buses from crossing to Rwanda via Katuna and Chanika border points has suffocated business in Uganda. Rwanda blocked cargo trucks and buses since Wednesday, to reportedly pave way for upgrading the One Stop Border Post at Gatuna border.

But on Friday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Richard Sezibera tweeted that Rwandans are strongly advised not to travel to Uganda due to ongoing arrests, harassment, and torture, a statement which depicts hostility between the two neighbouring countries.

However, the standoff has paralyzed business at Katuna and Chanika borders. Businessmen; among them wholesale and retail shop owners, money changers, hoteliers, drivers, told Uganda Radio Network that they are incurring losses as a result of blocked traffic at the border.

Richard Muramye, a hotelier at Katuna border says that most of his customers were Rwandans who have been barred from crossing into Uganda.  Hebert Friday, a driver was who found stuck with a trailer full of ripe mangoes at Katuna border says that the mangoes are now rotting due to heat. 

Asaph Ssembatya, a truck driver says that they can no longer afford to go to the hotels for accommodation due to limited resources and inactivity.
Innocent Kyokwijuka, one of the casual labourers at Katuna border says that many of them have been out of business over the last three days and advises the leaders from both countries to work out an amicable solution to the simmering conflict.
 Katuna Town Council Chairperson Nelson Nshangabashaija says that all businesses at the border are on a standstill. Nshangabashaija says that many of the trucks are unable to turn to Mirama border because of the lengthy queues comprising hundreds of trucks.

He, however, says that turning back to Mirama is very disturbing because the distance from Katuna border to Kigali is 87.8 kilometres while from Mirama border to Kigali is 185.9 kilometres.
Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson Elly Maate says that despite the paralysis of traffic, all the borders are well protected and secured. Maate says that Ugandans should operate within the law as the matter is handled by both governments.
 Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda says that the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is handling the matter and calls for patience across the board.

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