Heavy Trucks from Uganda and Kenya this week resumed crossing into Rwanda through Gatuna border post, following its temporary resumption.
In March this year, Rwanda kicked off rehabilitation of its One Stop Border Post at Gatuna – which affected heavy trucks from using the busiest route that connects Rwanda through Uganda and Kenya’s Mombasa port.
Rwanda said it diverted heavy trucks to Kagitumba-Mirama hills and Cyanika borders which connect the two countries.
However, Uganda reacted in disbelief – insisting Rwanda deliberately ‘closed the border’. Rwanda vehemently denied it.
On Wednesday morning, KT Press traveled to Gatuna border in the Northern part of the country to capture the movement.
However, heavy trucks coming from both Uganda and Rwanda sides of the border were few. Customs officials on the Rwandan side told KT Press that the slow traffic is normal in the first days, as several cargo had consignments bearing other routes.
“We expect traffic to increase this Friday onwards. Three days are not enough for heavy trucks to be here from Mombasa. Most of them had consignments bearing Kagitumba and Cyanika routes,” a customs officer at the border told KT Press.
At the border, construction works are in final stages. A big building – set to host customs and immigration officers from both sides is undergoing final touches – with officials expecting its use in the next two weeks.
One Stop Border Post (OSBP) is a border facility that combines two stops for national border control processing into one and consolidates border control functions in a shared space for exiting one country and entering another.
Meanwhile, it is not certain when the One Stop Border Post building on the Ugandan side. When KT Press visited the border, a building seen from a distance on the Ugandan side looks to be at half stage of construction.
Businesses had also resumed on both sides of the border, after some places such as ‘Kensiyona market’ had gone cold. “That market has been boosted largely by Rwandans. When travel advisory was announced, we stopped risking our lives by going across. This affected Ugandan traders who supplied the market,” Eliel Nsanzimana, a Rwandan resident told KT Press.
More Rwandans deported
Yesterday, twenty Rwandans were deported from Uganda after alleged torture by Ugandan security operatives. Rwanda accuses Uganda of illegally detaining Rwandan incommunicado.
After arriving in the country last evening, Rwanda government issued a statement, calling on Uganda government to release “many more Rwandans detained there”.
Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community said, “These illegal detentions, mistreatment and deportations is the reason the Government of Rwanda advised our citizens not to travel to Uganda.”
“We continue to call on Uganda to halt all collaboration with terrorist groups hostile to Rwanda including RNC, in targeting, illegally detaining, and torturing Rwandans and instead use lawful means to bring to justice any Rwandans suspected of breaking the law,” Minister Nduhungirehe added.
In the statement, government said: “Today’s deportation is not an isolated case. The fate of hundreds of Rwandans, whose names are known to the Government of Uganda, who have been killed, arrested, incarcerated without consular access and tortured… nor the close to one thousand illegally deported to Rwanda in inhumane conditions has never been addressed by Uganda, though repeatedly brought up by Rwanda through diplomatic channels.”