By Clement Uwiringiyimana
KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda said on Monday it would re-open its busiest border post with Uganda to cargo trucks for 12 days, more than three months after it was closed amid tensions between the two neighbours triggered by security and economic disagreements.
In a statement, Rwanda’s revenue body said it was “pleased to inform the general public that heavy trucks are allowed to provisionally cross Gatuna border,” for 12 days starting Monday.
At the end of February, Rwanda started blocking Ugandan cargo trucks from entering at the crossing, which Rwandans call Gatuna and Ugandans call Katuna. Authorities in Kigali also stopped Rwandan nationals from travelling to Uganda.
Rwandan officials said they will decide after two weeks whether to reopen the border permanently.
Rwandans were still banned from travelling to Uganda, minister of state for foreign affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe told Reuters.
“That issue will be solved when the issue of illegal arrest, harassment and torture of Rwandans in Uganda will have been solved by Ugandan authorities,” he said.
The government of President Paul Kagame has accused Kampala of harassing Rwandan nationals who travel to Uganda and giving succour to rebel groups including the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the FDLR who want to oust Kagame.
The blocking of cargo has disrupted commerce on a crucial regional transport artery. Rwanda depends for much of its imports on a trade route through Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean seaport of Mombasa. The route is also used to transport goods from Kenya and Uganda to Burundi and parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
(Editing by Elias Biryabarema)