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Rwanda Relaxes Border Restrictions for People Crossing to Uganda

In the last two months, the government of Rwanda relaxed restriction on her nationals crossing to Uganda with those having ‘valid reasons’ allowed to cross to Uganda via Kagitumba and Gatuna border points a move that is likely to raise hope among nationals of both countries.

Rwandan nationals who talked to Chimp reports but preferred not to be named so as to speak freely said they have been allowed to cross from Kagitumba border point after giving what immigration officials termed as valid reason.

“I was in Uganda for a friend’s wedding in which I was her matron. I crossed via Kagitumba border point after presenting some of the cultural clothes I had rented from Kigali to be used at the function.” one of the nationals told Chimpreports this week.

“They actually didn’t bother me much after I showed them the clothes. There were others who were being allowed though, while some were sent back.” she added.

Rwanda last year in February stopped her citizens from travelling to Uganda after relations between the two ‘countries soured with the Kigali establishment accusing Uganda of supporting Rwandan rebels, arresting and harassment of Rwandan nationals and economic sabotage.

On its part, Kampala accused Kigali of espionage; closing the Gatuna border, uprooting prominent Ugandans from the Rwandan economy and orchestrating a hate campaign against Uganda and its officials.

Another national who has since returned to Rwanda said he told the officials he was going to attend a burial of a close relative in western Uganda.

“After I told them I was going to bury a close relative they didn’t ask me much but just cleared me to continue with my journey unlike in the past when I tried and they stopped saying Rwandans cannot cross to Uganda,” the person who is a teacher in Rwanda explained.

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A Rwandan Immigration official whom Chimp Reports talked confirmed this development saying some people are being allowed crossing into Uganda.

“Currently yes, people with genuine reasons do cross though not everyone. Some are sent back,” he said.

“There are some who fail to explain why they are traveling to Uganda.”

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda recently announced that decisive actions will soon be taken by both Rwanda and Uganda to resolve their differences.

“Uganda, I can guarantee, will do its share of the normalization of the relations between our two countries,” said President Museveni in a statement

On the other hand, Rwandan President Paul Kagame in interview with the National Broadcaster (RBA) on the New Year eve said there has been some kind of progress right from the time the two heads of state met in Angola, though there are issues based on individual interests of states still standing in the way for the whole conflict to end.

“What matters is discussing the issues and addressing them, it doesn’t matter how many meetings or special envoys but rather having goodwill to tackle these issues, particularly innocent people who are illegally jailed in Uganda.”

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