Rwanda, Uganda move to beef up border security
The Governments of Rwanda and Uganda have appointed joint committees to analyse the security situation at Gatuna and Cyanika border posts, which will inform decisions to enhance security at the two Northern Corridor outlets.
The committees were established during a meeting held at the two borders on Saturday, chaired by the two police chiefs, Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana and his Ugandan counterpart, Lt. Gen Kale Kayihura.
Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa, the commander of traffic police, confirmed the development yesterday, in a telephone interview.
“The two IGPs held a meeting with border staff of both sides at Gatuna and Cyanika. The aim was to evaluate border security and look into matters that affect security along the borders, ranging from illegal crossing and migration,” Twahirwa said.
The tour of the Northern Corridor by the two police chiefs marked the end of Gasana’s three-day visit to Uganda.
The Northern Corridor is the route that links east African countries to the port of Mombasa.
Gasana’s visit was part of the evaluation of the implementation of the resolution adopted during the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) meeting held in Kigali last year.
He is the current chair of the regional police body.
It was also a reciprocal visit following Kayihura’s recent visit to Rwanda.
“Because of porous borders, it is very easy to cross. There are other issues such as lack of enough infrastructure at both sides; drugs – Kanyanga and other illicit substances …all these issues have to be addressed appropriately,” Twahirwa added.
Though measures have been put in place to help fight the trade and consumption of illicit drugs like marijuana and Kanyanga, the offences continue to top the crime list, with 2720 cases registered last year.
In this year’s first two months alone, 592 people, among them 57 females, were apprehended and over 1,000 litres of the lethal brew and 659 kilos of marijuana seized.
Kanyanga is believed to be sneaked in from Uganda while marijuana is believed to be peddled from Tanzania and the DR Congo.
“They also discussed the possibilities of jointly acquiring scanners to facilitate checks along the borders so as to improve on the way of handling trade. But this is a process that will need the involvement of higher authorities,” he stated.
Though Rwanda already has a scanner for goods, Twahirwa explained that there is still need for a scanner for passengers and their luggage.
“The police also discussed the Congolese refugees around our borders. A committee was also set up to look into the matter and advise on the right way to approach it. But it is not a big threat so far,” he said.
More than 8,000 and 10, 000 Congolese have fled into Rwanda and Uganda, respectively, escaping clashes between DRC military and rebels in the country’s North Kivu province.
Contact email: bosco.asiimwe[at]newtimes.co.rw