Rwanda’s foreign ministry announced on Friday that it will reopen the main border post with Uganda within three days. Closed since February 2019, Gatuna is an important overland trade route.
Relations between the two East African neighbors are thawing. Rwanda announced on Friday 28 January that the main border crossing with Uganda, which had been closed since February 2019, would reopen on 31 January.
The news comes less than a week after General Muhuzi Kenerugaba, the son of the Ugandan president, visited Kigali. Both the latter and Rwandan President Paul Kagame have shown a desire to “restore” bilateral relations.
“Following the visit of General Muhoozi Kainerugaba to Rwanda on 22 January, the Government of Rwanda takes note of the existence of a process to address the issues raised by Rwanda and the commitment of the Government of Uganda to remove remaining obstacles,” the Rwandan Foreign Ministry said in a press release issued Friday morning. Official reopening of border posts between the two countries.
Hope the relationship normalizes
“The Government of Rwanda remains committed to resolving the outstanding issues between Rwanda and Uganda, and believes that today’s announcement will make a positive contribution to the rapid normalization of relations between the two countries,” the text concluded.
There was no immediate official comment from the Ugandan side, but General Muhouzi and the Ugandan government, among other things, retweeted the Rwandan press release on their official Twitter account.
Rwanda abruptly closed its Gatuna border post (known in Uganda as Katuna) in February 2019 amid growing tensions between the two countries, cutting off a vital land trade route. Kigali has accused Uganda of kidnapping its nationals and supporting insurgents trying to overthrow Paul Kagame.
Kigali disputed Kampala’s accusations that Rwanda spied on and killed two men during the May 2019 invasion of its territory.
Chief intelligence officer fired
Shortly after the meeting between General Muhouzi and Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced the official replacement of the powerful military intelligence service, which had been in office since 2017, within the framework of “routine redeployment and reassignment” Abel Kandiho in charge. According to a Ugandan government spokesman.
In recent years, Rwandan officials have accused Kandijo of working with dissidents to kidnap Rwandan citizens in Uganda. He was also sanctioned by the United States for his alleged involvement in gross human rights violations.
Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni were close allies in their respective countries’ seizure of power in the 1980s and 1990s, and later fierce rivals.