The Independent (Kampala)

15 November 2012

Uganda Explains the Closure of Bunagana Border Post

Following the closure of the Bunagana border post, Uganda says the request for the closure was made by President Joseph Kabila of DR Congo through a Special Envoy, Raymond Tshibanda N'tunga Mulongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophone Affairs of DR Congo.

According to the press release from State house Mulongo was accompanied by the Governor of North Kivu and the Ambassador of the DRC to Uganda where they met with President Yoweri Museveni on October 26, 2012 over the concerns that DRC Government had that, M23 rebels were taking advantage of the open border point at Bunagana to collect revenue from cargo vehicles and other goods.

The statement says president Museveni then informed the Special Envoy that, "Uganda would consider closure of the border post upon receiving a formal and written request from President Kabila, indicating that the Government of the DRC would take responsibility for any negative impact on the humanitarian situation as result of closing the border."

Subsequently, the Government of the DRC made a formal request on October 30, to President Museveni reassuring him that, "The closure of the border post will not affect the lives of the civilian population in Bunagana, in spite of the conflict. Further that, the movement of the people, goods and supplies of basic needs to the population will continue without restriction to Rutshuru territory as well as between the latter and the city of Goma."

However, the Government of Uganda reiterated its commitment as the Chair of ICGLR to the process of finding a durable solution to the conflict in Eastern DRC, in line with the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

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