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100 Ugandans repatriated from Rwanda

Returnees at Gatuna border. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The first batch of 100 Ugandans who were stuck in Rwanda because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions returned to Uganda on Tuesday. The group was flagged off by the Charge d’Affairs of the Ugandans Embassy in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Ms Anne Katusiime.

They travelled in four coaches belonging to Volcano bus company registration numbers RAD254M, RAD255M, RAD259M and RAD252M, which dropped them at Gatuna border and drove back to Kigali. Each bus carried 25 people to enforce physical distancing.

The group that arrived at Gatuna border at 12:30 pm was first held by Rwandan security and immigration officials until 5:40 pm when they were cleared to cross. One of the female returnees was whisked off in a private super custom vehicle registration number UBD 004F to Kampala.

It came after four people travelling in the vehicle informed security officials that they had orders to pick her up because she was very sick. However, the security officers first blocked the vehicle from proceeding back to Kampala for about an hour as they consulted their superiors on phone.

The returnees are part of 350 Ugandans who have been stranded in Rwanda since Covid-19 broke out in the country. The Ugandans were trapped in Rwanda after President Yoweri Museveni announced a nationwide lockdown of Uganda’s borders to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Wallace Bindeeba, the Katuna cluster immigration officer who led a delegation of Ugandan officials that witnessed the repatriation exercise said the returnees will first be inspected by health officials from the Kabale district Covid-19 taskforce before being transported to Entebbe for the mandatory quarantine.

Security officials blocked our reporter from speaking to the returnees who looked very tired and hungry.  The returnees were being screened at Katuna immigration offices as security organized their transport to Kampala.

Another batch of Ugandans will be repatriated from Rwanda on Saturday this week and Wednesday next week.

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