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Security Tight as Museveni, Kagame, Tshisekedi, Lourenco Meet in Katuna

Heavily-armed Special Forces units and regular police personnel have been deployed in Katuna and neighboring towns and hills to secure the heads-of-state and their delegations.

Angolan president, João Lourenço, arrived in Kigali on Thursday evening ahead of today’s function.

Lourenço was welcomed by Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister, Vincent Biruta.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi has since confirmed attendance.

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From Katuna, Chimp Corps say a special area where the leaders will sit for talks will be out of bounds for journalists.

Only presidential press units are expected at the venue.

High on the agenda is the normalization of relations between Rwanda and Uganda which have sharply deteriorated and raised the prospect of an armed conflict.

Lourenco and Tshisekedi have been mediating the talks over the past one year.


It remains to be seen if President Paul Kagame will reopen the Katuna border to allow his citizens move freely to Uganda and also allow Ugandan goods on Rwandan market.

Rwanda closed the common border in February 2019, accusing Uganda of helping dissidents hell-bent on toppling President Kagame by force of arms.

Kagame also accused Uganda of economic sabotage and harassment of Rwandans in Uganda.

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

However, recent weeks have seen Uganda and Rwanda release detainees and commit to restoration of ties.

Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa recently said in line with the Luanda MoU and context of normalization of relations between the two countries and as a gesture of goodwill, Kampala withdrew charges of several offences including unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition against Rwandans.

Rwanda last week made new demands from Kampala which included dismissal of top security chiefs in Uganda, saying they are facilitating Rwandan dissidents’ operations in the region.

The Rwandan Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, Olivier Nduhungirehe, told the Ugandan delegation that Kigali “demands” action be taken by Uganda including “disbanding” RNC (Rwanda National Congress), RUD-Urunana and “arrest and extradite all its members to face justice in Rwanda.”

RNC is led by exiled former Rwandan army chief, Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa while RUD-Urunana is a splinter group of FDLR, a militia whose leadership is accused of committing the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Both movements have since denied conducting any operations in Uganda. RNC says it has no intentions of toppling Kagame by use of arms.

Nduhungirehe further said Uganda must “refrain from all actions intended to destabilize Rwanda; eliminate all factors that create such perception; withdraw the passport issued by Ugandan government to RNC’s head of diplomacy, Charlotte Mukankusi and prevent her from traveling to Uganda.”

In response, Kutesa called for a joint Verification Mechanism to investigate Rwanda’s allegations.

He also said “the human rights of Rwandans are protected just like any other nationals in Uganda. By Rwandans continuing to travel to Uganda by air is evidence that they feel secure being in Uganda. Even those who get shot by Rwanda authorities, feel safe to take refuge in Uganda.”

Kutesa wondered why Rwandan security personnel “continue to shoot Ugandans along the border, denying them right of life and hurting the spirit of integration.”

The Minister further said Rwanda continues to “relentlessly” orchestrate a “hostile campaign against the Ugandan government and its officials.”

He said while Ugandan border “has remained open to goods and services” in compliance with regional and international frameworks, the Rwandan border “remains closed and a trade embargo on Ugandan goods remains in place to date.”

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