Kigali has demanded the release of what it described as “illegally arrested” Rwandans in Uganda before the reopening of the common border of Gatuna, a condition Uganda is yet to buy.
President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame on Wednesday signed a pact providing that the countries resume cross-border activities, including movement of persons and goods.
Rwanda’s decision to close the border in March has denied its citizens access to food and other items obtained from Uganda, leading to a spike in prices for essential household commodities.
On the other hand, Ugandan businessmen exporting goods to Rwanda have lost billions of shillings after the border closure.
It was hoped that Rwanda would reopen the border to allow movement of people and goods while Uganda is expected to “protect the rights and freedoms of the nationals of the other party residing or transiting in their national territories, in accordance with laws of their countries.”
However, Rwanda’s State Minister in charge of East African Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, told government-owned newspaper, The New Times on Thursday that, “The travel advisory notice will be removed as soon as all Rwandan citizens illegally detained in Uganda are released.”
He added: “They [Uganda] were arresting them (Rwandans) on a daily basis. They should release all of them, without exception.”
Nduhungirehe stressed that “all commitments made in the MoU must be implemented.”