Rwanda has reduced the number of its soldiers and other security personnel along some of the porous border points between Uganda-Rwanda.
Kigali has also allegedly replaced some of the army along the borders with police, according to security sources.
This comes weeks after President Museveni and his Kigali counterpart Paul Kagame signed a pact in Angola aimed at ending at least seven months of tensions that saw the two countries accusing each other of espionage, political killings and attack on trade.
Rwanda had heavily deployed along the borders as soldiers would be visibly seen assaulting and arresting Rwandans who dared cross into Uganda. Deployment was heavy mostly on the Gatuna border point and the neighboring hill points in Rwanda.
It’s also alleged that several soldiers were deployed near Ecuya forest in Rwanda.
Pius Mashemererwa, a businessman at Katuna border post says security along the major entry point at Katuna isn’t as tight as it was in mid-May, adding that the soldiers are now friendlier than before.
“In May, you wouldn’t talk to Rwandan soldiers and they reply you, but today it’s different. Even sometimes they watch their citizens smuggling along the borders and they keep quiet,” Mashemererwa said.
Deogratius Mbabazi, a businessman from Kashasha Trading Center in Bufundi sub county Rubanda district which borders Rwanda says Rwandans can now access Uganda with ease and return back to Rwanda without the threats of Rwandan security.
”Since the signing of the Luanda pact, Rwandans come easily into Uganda and go back without being arrested. They used to tell us of how they were arrested and tortured when they dared crossing into Uganda, but they say security today doesn’t harass them,” Mbabazi was quoted as saying.
Elias Migyereko of Butanda Sub-county another businessman who deals in posho says most Rwandans are no longer being intercepted at night.
“I remember when they used to arrest Rwandans at night that would be coming to smuggle Posho from Uganda. They used to cross with little success but since last week, they have been coming with ease reporting security has heavily reduced along the border” Migyereko said.
Kigali has not yet allowed its citizens to cross into Uganda despite the Angola pact. Kigali accuses Uganda of holding its citizens incommunicado and it alleges that most of them have been tortured in Kampala.
Kigali also among other things banned Ugandan products from being imported to Rwanda.
To date, no Ugandan products are sold to Kigali despite the signing of the pact.
Since February, the two Countries have lost a lot of money because of border closure.
In early June this year, Uganda’s east African community ministry reported that Kampala had lost more than $664 million’s worth of exports to Rwanda while Kigali had lost $104 million during the three months the Gatuna border has been closed.
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