Ugandan authorities at Katuna border
Rwandan authorities are still barring Ugandans from crossing to their country through Katuna in Kabale and Chanika in Kisoro districts despite the border re-opening today, according to travelers themselves and highly placed security sources.
Rwanda on 28th of this month announced in a statement that the border will be re-open today. The border was closed on February 27, 2019. At the time, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame accused Ugandan authorities of spying on Rwanda, abducting Rwandan citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas, as well as hosting and facilitating dissidents who have declared war on the Kigali administration. Rwanda then issued a travel advisory to its nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety was not guaranteed.
A security official at the border told our reporter on Monday that despite the announcement, there are still many unresolved glitches Rwanda is yet to clear.
According to an official who requested anonymity, Rwandan nationals are still being blocked from crossing to Uganda. Ugandans are also still being blocked from crossing to Rwanda through Katuna and Chanika. Only those with Rwandan national identity cards are being allowed to cross to Rwanda from Uganda. The official says that Rwanda is yet to reveal the reasons behind this.
Christine Tushabe, a Ugandan from Bageza sub county, Mubende district was found stuck at the border. She says that she had traveled to cross to Rwanda through Katuna border to accompany her relative for a burial ceremony.
Tushabe however says that despite having all the necessary requirements she was told by Rwandan authorities that no Ugandan is supposed to cross to their country. Tushabe says she was told that only trucks are the ones cleared to cross through Katuna and Chanika borders.
Tushabe says that she was not told the reason. Tushabe says that what is being published in media that the border is fully open is completely different from what is on the ground. She says that she is now stuck since her journey has been frustrating. She wants Rwanda to tell the truth.
Sarafiina Nyiransengimana from Mubende district says that she was cleared to cross to Rwanda to attend the burial of her mother in Kigali but others who were accompanying her have been blocked.
Nyiransengimana says that she is also still at the border wondering what will happen to Ugandans who have been blocked yet were accompanying her.
Abdul Ndilima, a businessman from Kabale town who was going to Kigali to visit his relatives says that despite the glitches which are yet to be solved, he will abide by the orders.
Kisoro District Chairman Abel Bizimana, protesting Rwanda’s blocking Ugandans from crossing into Rwanda yet Rwanda’s statement is clear that the border is open, now wants Rwanda to solve every glitch for the effective crossing by the people.
At around 11:30 AM, Ugandan officials led by Abel Kagumire Commissioner for Customs in charge of Katuna border and officials from the Immigrations department at katuna border held a closed-door meeting with Rwandan security authorities at the Rwandan border side of Gatuna. The meeting took about an hour.
When asked what transpired in the meeting, Kagumire says that they were harmonizing on steps to follow while clearing the cargo trucks.
Kagumire says that the meeting did involve discussion about why it is still not easy for Ugandans to freely cross to Rwanda like how it used to be.
By press time, Ugandans were still being restricted from crossing to Rwanda.