Rwanda’s advisory that warns its citizens against travelling to Uganda still stands, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said.
The clarification came after Rwanda announced on Sunday temporary re-opening of Gatuna border for heavy trucks.
In an interview with The New Times on Monday, Richard Sezibera said the Gatuna border with Uganda has re-opened for heavy trucks in order to test facilities at the border following the construction of a one-stop border post, but Rwandans should continue to heed the travel advisory for their own safety.
The minister spoke to this newspaper from Parliamentary Buildings in Kigali, shortly after he met senators for a session focused on explaining the Government’s foreign policy on promoting trade and investment.
“The travel advisory has not changed. The travel advisory says that ‘you are strongly advised not to travel to Uganda’. That hasn’t changed,” he said.
At the beginning of March this year, the Government advised Rwandans not to go to Uganda because their security was not guaranteed in that country.
“Rwandans are arrested, tortured, and harassed in Uganda; this is an issue we have raised with Uganda many times at different levels. Those that are not arrested, harassed, and detained are deported for reasons which we don’t understand,” Sezibera told this newspaper in March.
Rwandan officials say that Ugandan authorities have arrested scores of Rwandan citizens for unclear reasons and have deported or denied entry to hundreds of others since January 2018.
Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, revealed in a tweet late last month that Rwanda was pleading for the release of about a hundred of its citizens languishing in Uganda’s jails, mostly ungazetted.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister emphasised that Rwanda’s foreign policy on trade and investment will focus more on involving members of the private sector to take advantage of trade opportunities in other countries.
He told senators in the session about the Government’s foreign policy on the promotion of trade and investment, known as economic diplomacy strategy, that there is need for members of the private sector to work more closely with the Government to state where they need help.
Government will focus efforts at facilitating Rwandan businesses on how they can take advantage of the opportunities abroad, he said.