Reports from both the media and eyewitnesses indicate that the government of Burundi on Thursday, January 11 decided to close the country’s border posts with Rwanda, leaving travellers stranded on both sides of the borders. While no official communication had been issued by the Burundian government to their counterparts regarding the development, reports indicate that the border crossings were shut on Thursday afternoon paralysing cross-border business. ALSO READ: Rwanda regrets border closure by Burundi Media reports from the neighbouring country attribute a statement to Burundian Minister for Internal Affairs claiming that his country had suspended diplomatic ties with Rwanda owing to allegations that the latter was harbouring people with intentions to harm the former. The same reports indicates that some Rwandans living in Burundi have also been deported. ALSO READ: Rwanda dismisses claims by Burundian president on ties with rebel group This is not the first time the Burundians have closed their border with Rwanda. In fact, the borders have been open for just over one year, having been reopened in October 2022. Before then, the Burundians had closed the border in 2015, again after accusing Rwanda of supporting Burundian officers who staged a botched coup d’etat that same year. The period between 2015 and 2022 was characterised by harassment targeting Rwandans in Burundi including diplomats, which left trade between the two countries in a limbo. ALSO READ: Burundian refugees urged to repatriate voluntarily The latest decision follows the announcement recently by Burundian president Evariste Ndayishimiye that Rwanda was behind a recent attack in Southern Burundi – far from the Rwandan border – in which civilians were reportedly killed. This attack, which took place last year on December 22, was claimed by a group of Burundian dissidents called RED Tabara, which operates from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. The same group distanced itself from Rwanda, saying that they had their grievances with their government. The closure of the borders will naturally hurt citizens who eke a living from trading in different commodities across borders. It also happens amidst a tough economic situation in Burundi, where basic commodities including fuel are in short supply. Rwanda and Burundi are both members of the East African Community and the closure of the border violates free movement of persons and goods, which is guaranteed by the East African Common Market protocol. However, in light of all that has happened, Rwanda must take precautionary steps to ensure nationals who are caught on the other side of the border are safely repatriated.