24 June 2019

Uganda-Rwanda Border Closed Again

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

The 12 days the government of Rwanda had offered to open the Rwanda-Uganda border post Katuna elapsed quietly on Saturday.

On June 10, Rwanda Revenue Authority announced that it was opening the border to carry out trials for the movement of trucks on the Katuna One-Stop-Border Post for two weeks until June 22.

The move was widely seen as the first step towards the permanent opening of the border that was closed in February.

But the period has elapsed without Uganda and Rwanda indicating that they had solved their differences.

Even with the temporary opening, some traders found it difficult crossing the border and fewer trucks were allowed to go through.

The Katuna border weekly market known as "World Market" inside Uganda was poorly attended and there was remarkable absence of Rwandans, usually the major customers. Rwandans are still not allowed to cross to Uganda.

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On June 19, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) installed a mobile cargo scanner at Katuna Border post to ensure there are no illegal declarations.

URA customs official at the border who preferred anonymity said the scanner had initially not been installed at the border post because of the recent standoff with Rwanda when authorities closed its border post for several months.

However, according to the source, plans to install the scanner was started way before the border standoff between the two countries.

Ugandan traders were advised to use the Cyanika and Kagitumba border posts to go to Rwanda.

There is fear that the border closure, which has seen Uganda's export earnings to Rwanda fall by 85 percent could persist for a long period.

The Rwanda-Burundi border has been closed for two years after a standoff between the two countries.

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