Heavy trucks movements resume at Gatuna border for trials

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The Uganda-Rwanda border at Katuna has been opened to allow movement of heavy trucks for two weeks.

In a statement issued last night, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) said the area will only be open from today June 10, 2019, to June 22, 2019.

“Reference is made to Rwanda Transport Development Agency letter dated June 7, 2019, which expresses the need to carry out trials for heavy trucks movement on Gatuna [Katuna] OSBP for a period of two weeks from 10th to 22nd June 2019 and assess the operationalization of the constructed works and equipment before the reception of works,” the letter read in part.

The Katuna border was closed in February 2019 in what was interpreted as a result of the row between Uganda and Rwanda. During that time, Ugandan traders were advised to use the Kyanika and Kagitumba border posts to enter Rwanda.

Attempts by the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to explain that the closure was due to the construction works ongoing were quickly thwarted by tweets and open disdain from top Rwandan officials, including the Foreign Affairs Minister who indicated the closure was due to a row with Uganda.

Rwandan officials accused Uganda of supporting rebels trying to overthrow governemnt of Rwanda, an accusation Kampala has consistently denied. Later on, Rwanda also issued a travel advisory to its citizens not to go to Uganda for the sake of their safety.

Rwanda said her citizens were mistreated while in Uganda, the latter denies the allegations citing those arrested had cases to answer.

As a result, trade between the two countries has since fallen by more than 85 per cent since the February closure.

Rwanda also says its facility even when it has been completed, it will not be effective since Uganda has not finished construction in its side of the border.

The development follows reports that newspaper, Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, the Rwanda minister of state for transport, said: “Completion of works is one thing but functioning is another. For One-Stop-Border Post to function, it has to be both sides. So what about the other [Ugandan] side.”

Meanwhile, it is still unclear when the border will open fully.

 

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