Uganda: Kutesa in Touch With Rwanda to Resolve Border Issues, Says Opondo

Border check. A Rwandan security officer inspects a vehicle from the Ugandan side at Cyanika border post.

Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa is in touch with Rwandan authorities to resolve any border issues, government has said.

"I don't know about the tensions being high, but what I know yesterday (Wednesday) at around 6pm, the authorities from Rwanda refused vehicles both private and public from entering Uganda. Uganda provides the everyday necessities of life. They even prevented their own people from coming to buy the daily necessities," Uganda government spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo said on Thursday after reports emerged that cargo trucks from Uganda had been blocked from crossing into Rwanda at Katuna, also known as Gatuna, to pave the way for the upgrade of the one-stop border post, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said.

However, Mr Opondo told journalists in Kampala that there's a "slight problem" at all the three border points between Uganda and Rwanda.

"If it was construction of the road "they wouldn't have prevented their people from coming into the country. Our Minister of foreign affairs is in touch with the authorities of Rwanda," he said.

Mr Opondo further noted that by Thursday morning, Rwandan authorities had blocked even school children from crossing into Uganda for studies.

"If there's any other reason beyond the construction works they have given, the honorable Sam Kutesa is in engagement and we hope that this matter will be resolved quickly," he said.

RRA in a letter addressed to the Commissioner for Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority on Wednesday, said heavy trucks would be diverted to other border crossings.

"We are considering reducing the traffic of heavy trucks to allow completion of the OSBP infrastructure," read the letter signed by Ms Rosine Uwamariya, the Commissioner for Customs at RRA.

"In view of the above, Rwanda Revenue Authority would like to inform you that with effect from February 28, 2019, all heavy trucks carrying goods destined and those transiting via Gatuna shall be temporarily diverted from using Gatuna Border Post to Kagitumba/Mirama Hills border posts," she added.

However, the announcement followed complaints on social media of stranded citizens and truck drivers.

"Why are our goods being stopped from entering Rwanda? Our friendship still stands," Mr Aaron Ainomugisha posted on Twitter.

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