Rwanda has threatened to fine its citizens found attempting to cross into Uganda.
The directive, according to Nelson Nshangabasheija, the mayor at Katuna border, became effective on midnight on Monday, March 4.
“Any Rwandan who will be attempting to cross to Uganda will be fined US$5,000 (Shs18million). All vehicles from Rwanda are being checked to make sure that no Rwandan crosses to Uganda,” Nshangabasheija told watchdoguganda.
According to Nshangabasheija, Rwandans are only allowed to cross back to Rwanda alongside some Ugandans because ‘Rwanda is safer’.
The mayor’s revelations follows souring relations between the two neighbours, that have seen the Uganda-Rwanda border point at Katuna closed last Tuesday. This after the Kigali accused Kampala of arresting, harassing and torturing Rwandans in Uganda.
Richard Sezibera, the Rwandan minister in charge of foreign affairs and cooperation called on Rwandan nationals not to visit Uganda, saying it was no longer safe for them.
However, Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Ugandan government spokesperson on March 1 refuted the claims, on his twitter handle.
“There’s no witch hunt for Rwandans in Uganda. There’s nobody from Rwanda being held by Ugandan authorities for any reason. We would like to send a clear message to Rwanda that there’s no one Uganda is harassing from Rwanda or has in custody,” Opondo posted on his twitter handle.
A buildup of vehicles from Katuna has now stretched to Mayengo, a kilometer from the border.
Aloysious Tugunisirize, the manager of Baj fuel station at Katuna border post, told wathcdoguganda on Monday morning that business has stalled.
“I used to sell 700 liters of fuel daily but now I sell between 100 to 200 liters,” Tugumisirize said.
He only sells vehicles that travel to Uganda.
Other reports at Katuna border post indicate that money changers have refused to buy Rwandan Francs, saying there’s nowhere to sell them.