NYAGATARE – The re-opening of Kizinga border post that connects Rwempasha Sector in Nyagatare District and the Ugandan district of Kabale has boosted cross-border trade, local residents say.
In 2008, a provincial security meeting ordered an immediate closure of the border post after it was discovered it had become a channel of illicit drugs smuggled from neighbouring Uganda.
However, in May this year, the border was officially re-opened in a bid to encourage cross-border trade between residents of Rwempasha and their Ugandan neighbours in Kabale.
According to residents of Rugarama Cell, which is close to the border, the opening of the crossing point was a welcome move.
“We had no access to market in the area yet there is Rwentobo market just metres across the border in Uganda. This had made us resort to illegal movement through porous borders purposely to buy food items in Kabale,” said Narcisse Gashegu, a resident.
“But since the border is now open, we buy exchange commodities with our neighbours in Uganda. We thank local authorities who revised this issue”.
All that is required from local residents is a national identity card to cross the border to Uganda. However, this does not apply to non residents.
“Other residents with various travel documents have to pass through Kagitumba and Buziba borders,” said an immigration official in Nyagatare District.
“The opening of the border post has not only given us access to market but we also freely cross to Uganda to visit our relatives,” said Didas Sezirahiga.
The Executive Secretary of Rugarama Cell, Louise Candali, said that prior to the re-opening of the border, residents from both countries often crossed illegally which posed a security threat.
“The border was opened simply to pave way for legitimate cross-border trade. Currently, cases of illegal trade have reduced,” she said.