14 November 2012

Uganda Closes Congo Border Post

Photo: HRW
Armed M23 rebels

Uganda has closed its south-western Bunagana border in Kisoro with Congo. Authorities say the border post was benefitting the M23 rebels fighting President Joseph Kabila's government.

UPDF's Second Division commander Brig. Patrick Kankiriho announced the closure on Tuesday at a meeting with Kisoro security committee.

Kisoro resident district commissioner Ahmed Doka on Tuesday said Uganda's immigration and customs office at Bunagana border post accessing North Kivu region has not been operational.

"Uganda was allowing people to cross to Congo without paying visa fees. But in Congo, the M23 group charges visa fees and taxes for movement of persons, vehicles and goods ferried across. This means that M23 were earning revenue because of our open border. To remove suspicion, the Government has decided to close the border," Doka said.

Independent sources said the development followed Kinshasa government's request to Uganda to close the border post, which they said, was being used by the rebels to raise money through taxes.

UPDF's 63rd Battalion under the command of Maj. John Mukasa has since taken over security along Uganda's border with Congo until the situation normalises.

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