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Security restricts access to Katuna town ahead of Museveni, Kagame meeting

A tent being erected on Uganda’s side of No Man’s land

Katuna, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  There is heightened security in Katuna border town in Kabale ahead of President Yoweri Museveni’s meeting with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame tomorrow.

The meeting is part of the resolutions of the quadripartite summit held in Luanda, Angola on February 2, 2020 under the mediation of President, João Lourenço and his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi to end the tension between the two neighbors.

During the meeting it was resolved, that the two countries release each other’s citizens in their custody, refrain from interfering in each other’s affairs, protect the Human rights of Ugandan and Rwandan citizens and continue activities of the Ad-Hoc commission as a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the process.

On Tuesday, both Uganda and Rwandan security officials declared the No Man’s land a no go area due to ongoing works in preparation for the meeting. They advised road users to use alternative routes of Chanika in Kisoro district and Mirama Hills in Ntungamo district.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ugandan security officials held other several meetings where they issued fresh guidelines among them blocking all road users from accessing Katuna town council.

Elly Maate, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson, says they have with immediate effect blocked access to the town council from Kyonyo in Kamuganguzi Sub County and Ryakarimira in Ryakarimira town council.

Maate says that no vehicle is allowed to access Katuna town council without security clearance. He says the decision is to ensure the meeting between the two presidents goes on without any interruption.

According to Maate, although they are aware that many taxis ply the Kabale –Katuna road, they cannot be allowed to go to Katuna since some people with ill intentions may use the chance to disrupt the meeting.

Maate says road users can divert from Ryakatimira via the top of the hill up to Kitumba Sub County to Kabale town. Maate also says that they are still finding ways of handling residents of Katuna so that they don’t interfere with the meeting.

Moses Zainongo Ariganyira, a taxi driver who operates on Kabale-Katuna road describes the decision to block the road as unfair, saying it is going to affect their livelihoods. Ariganyira says it will be difficult for him to pay the taxi owner because of the disruption by security.

Apollo Dunia, another taxi driver says however much the closure of the road will affect them financially, he has no problem as long as the meeting resolves the impasse between the two countries and leaders to the border opening.

Uganda and Rwanda are separated by River Kiruruma at Katuna. It remains unclear on how the heads of state will conduct their meeting since each country is erecting tents on its own territory, about 70 meters away from the river.

Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February 2019.  Rwandan authorities led by President, Paul Kagame accuse Ugandan authorities of abducting Rwandan citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.

They also accuse Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially from the Rwanda National Congress and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, who have declared war on the Kigali government.

Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can’t guarantee their safety.



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