People neighboring Rwandan-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border express their disappointment over the closure of ports that used to facilitate economic exchange between people from the two countries. They call for closed ports to be reopened.
More than twenty ports are closed in eastern south of Rwanda, either on the DRC side or in Burundi, partly due to security reasons or to illegal use of ports, such as fraud.
Operators are demanding that ports be reopened and consequently put in place appropriate measures for their use because their closure is affecting them on their daily social and economic lives in one way or another.
Damien Habimana, a resident in Rusizi, near the Rwanda- DRC border does not hide his displeasure after the border was closed, “This is a serious problem because border residents used to cross borders to do their daily business works across DRC, like construction and others”
On their return from Bukavu town, the day laborers manage to feed their respective families. The example is that the price of one kilo of rice in the DRC costs 600 Frw at the time when it is at 800 Frw, the beans, the oil of the kitchen are cheaper than here.
Talking to Bwiza.com, Jean Pierre Iyakaremye, Executive Secretary of the Mururu sector, says that the district is aware of the issue, and promised to discuss and find a solution.
It is said that the issue is hampering people and are facing poverty since they were blocked from doing cross border business.
Frédéric Harelimana, mayor of Rusizi district, talking to media early in May, said the decision to close the cross border trade was reinforced to ensure borders and customs work legally.
‘It is true that borders are closed. It should not be thought that only borders should be used, because customs should also be working properly, ” Harelimana said.
So far, 44 ports have been closed between Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, only 20 are well managed.
In Rusizi, 11 borders are closed between Rwanda and DRC due to poor management while, on the other hand, 13 have been closed between Rwanda and Burundi due to insecurity.
On the Rwanda-Burundi side, 4 are closed in Bweyeye, 4 in Butare, 3 in Gikundamvura and 2 in Bugarama. Meanwhile 2 in Nzahaha, 2 in Gihundwe, 1 in Kamembe, 2 in Nkanka, 2 in Nkombo and 2 in Mururu are all not operating between Rwanda and DRC.
It’s rather worthy to mention that two people attacked Bugarama area last Tuesday, via the closed ports and one person dead of grenade. This would surely complicate negotiations about reopening the closed ports.
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