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Exclusive: Ugandan Truckers Harassed in Rwanda, Risk Contracting Covid19

Rwandan authorities have continued to silently harass and frustrate foreign truckers transporting cargo in and through the country.

Some truck drivers that spoke to this website revealed they were subjected to lengthy clearance processes and excruciating conditions, which make a less than 200km journey from Mirama Hills to Kigali last three days.

Christopher Sempijja, a fuel tank driver from Prime Fuels Logistics says they are held for long without food and security tells food vendors not reach near them, as they are infected with Covid19.

Last week, Ugandan drivers who transported raw materials to a brewery located in Gisenyi, a city found in Rubavu district, were diverted towards DRC border into isolation for days before releasing them to drive back to the capital Kigali then to Uganda.

“Immediately after checking out of the brewery, we were intercepted by heavy security and ordered to drive towards DRC border to an isolated area. In this place we found other drivers from Tanzania and DRC who had spent days at that spot locked up in a big room,” a driver who preferred anonymity said.

After three days of isolation, drivers said security escorted them under tight guard to Mirama Hills.

However, along the way, some drivers said that they were harassed by security when their trucks stopped due to their computerized systems that limit operational coverage.

As a safety measure, most fuel transport companies fitted their trucks with computerized security and safety systems that don’t allow drivers to operate beyond prescribed time.

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Drivers say when they respond to stop-calls from the computer systems, security operatives put them at gun points to continue driving before being whisked away to police and detained with unknown inmates.

The mistreatment is not only meted out to Ugandans; all truckers that are non-Rwandan are being harassed and subjected to conditions which could see them contract covid19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

There are also reports there is heavy traffic jam on both Uganda and Kenya sides.

Initially, authorities in Rwandan had blamed Burundi for the actions against Ugandan drivers.

Kigali in a letter to Kampala and Nairobi said it would no longer allow trucks bearing their number plates since Burundi had denied them entry.

Burundi had initially locked its borders to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

This move, however, was against the East African Community agreement that borders remain entry to cargo.

According to Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde, after engaging authorities in Burundi this was resolved and cargo started moving.

 

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