No deployment of troops at Uganda-Rwanda border, say authorities

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Rwandan troops have not been deployed at the Ugandan border, according to Uganda’s government spokesperson, who denied reports in the Ugandan media that “heavily armed” soldiers had been stationed there.

The border crossing at Katuna has been closed since last week and Rwanda has advised its nationals to avoid travelling to Uganda.

“It’s Rwanda’s sovereign right to deploy on its side of the border for whatever reasons except perhaps provocation,” said Ofwono Opondo, Uganda’s government spokesperson. “For now, we don’t have that information as all border posts are calm except Katuna where the official reason is temporary closure and diversion due to ongoing civil works.”

Uganda’s Observer newspaper reported on Monday that “armed personnel” from the Rwanda Defence Force were seen in areas along the border, citing intelligence sources. The move would have marked an escalation in the tension over the border crossing.

Rwanda’s army spokesperson Innocent Munyengango told RFI that he had “no comment” on the reports, suggesting that the journalists responsible for the reports provide evidence of what was described as soldiers “visible in the hills”.

Authorities in Kigali last week closed the border crossing at Katuna, known as Gatuna in Kinyarwanda, due to construction works and security concerns.

Ugandan harassment?

“Rwandans are strongly advised not to travel to Uganda due to ongoing arrests, harassment, torture,” said Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera, directing heavy goods traffic to a border crossing at Kagitumba, some 120 kilometres from Katuna by road.

Opondo said “Ugandans and citizens of other countries are moving to and from Rwanda without undue impediments”, adding that Ugandan officials were working with their Rwandan counterparts to clear a backlog of trucks especially those carrying fuel.

Uganda government communications shared images of “over 130 cargo trucks” stuck at the border crossing, saying they had already been cleared by Ugandan customs.

More on the Story Source: RFI

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