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Rwanda Raise Diplomatic tension along its borders with Uganda

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Rwanda has further raised already strained diplomatic tensions between Rwanda and Uganda by deploying heavily armed personnel along its border lines with Uganda. The armed personnel are visible in the hills at Mukaniga, Byumba and Buganza. Also at Chanika in Kisoro district.



Uganda’s Internal Security Organization (ISO) officials and locals confirmed the presence of the heavily armed Rwanda Defence Force soldiers along the borders. Although ISO officials said, Uganda doesn’t see a reason yet to also deploy armed personnel, Rwanda’s deployment has aroused tensions among the locals near the borders.

Rwanda and Uganda once fought a deadly battle on foreign soil in Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2000. The number of casualties was in excess of 1,000, with Uganda registering the biggest deaths.

Rwanda’s deployment signals an escalation of the diplomatic hostility between the two countries which has been ongoing for the last two years. Since Wednesday last week, Rwanda blocked Ugandan trucks and buses from crossing into or out of Rwanda. Initially, the official reason given, was that Rwanda was upgrading its one stop border post at Gatuna border and advised drivers to use Chanika border post as an alternative.

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However this border post too was blocked. Indeed, moments later, Rwandan minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Richard Sezibera, tweeted that Rwandans are strongly advised not to travel to Uganda due to ongoing arrests, harassment, and torture. Rwandan authorities went on to block Rwandan nationals including students from crossing into Uganda although some of them could be seen using the unmanned entry points. Uganda government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo on Saturday said that strangely, no Rwandan national had flown to Entebbe airport from Rwanda since Wednesday which was indicative that perhaps Rwandans have been blocked from from flying into Uganda.

Bernard Ssengendo, one of the Ugandan truck drivers still stuck in Rwanda, says that although Ugandan drivers are now allowed to make movements during daytime and return to the Ugandan side of the border for meals, they are ordered to lock themselves inside their trucks throughout the night by the Rwandan police.

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Jamil Sebo, another truck driver found at Katuna says that he was only allowed to cross over to the Ugandan side to buy medicine. He says Rwanda police has given them no reasons warranting him to lock himself in the truck.

“They don’t tell you anything. Since last week they don’t allow us to drive out of Rwanda although for now, people are allowed to move into Uganda for meals and medicine. And when night falls, they tell you to lock yourself inside the truck. They don’t give any reasons.” said Sebo.

Uganda prime minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda on Friday said that the government, through the ministry of Foreign Affairs is handling the matter.

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-The Observer

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24 Hours Across Africa

Ghana draws African-American tourists with ‘Year of Return

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US preacher Roxanne Caleb blinked away the tears as she emerged from a pitch-dark dungeon where African slaves were once held before being shipped across the Atlantic to America.

“I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m heartbroken,” she told AFP as she toured the Cape Coast slave fort on Ghana’s ocean shore.

“My mind still can’t wrap around the fact that a human being can treat another worse than a rat.”

Caleb is among the African-American visitors flocking to Ghana as it marks the “Year of Return” to remember the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in Virginia.

The West African nation is banking on the commemorations to give a major boost to the number of tourist arrivals as it encourages the descendants of slaves to “come home”.

Cape Coast Castle, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital Accra, is a major magnet for those visiting

The white-washed fort lined with cannons was one of dozens of prisons studding the Atlantic coast where slaves were held before their journey to the New World.

A string of prominent African-Americans have headed to the site this year to mark the anniversary since the first slave landing in 1619.

Among them was a delegation of Congressional Black Caucus led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that toured last month.

– ‘Can’t forget history’ –

For those visiting it is an emotional rite of passage.

“This has been understanding my history and my roots where I came from,” Caleb said.

“I am very thankful I came here as part of the Year of Return.”

Sampson Nii Addy, a corrections officer with the Montgomery police department in Alabama, said he and his family had found the tour an “education”.

“I think every black person needs to come around to learn history; how people were treated,” the 52-year-old told AFP.

“We can’t forget history but we can always learn something from it.”

Ghana, one of the continent’s most stable democracies, has long pitched itself as a destination for African-Americans to explore their heritage and even settle permanently.

In 2009 President Barack Obama visited with his family and paid homage at the Cape Coast Castle.

The “Year of Return” has added fresh impetus and the country is hoping it will increase visitor numbers from 350,000 in 2018 to 500,000 this year, including 45,000 African-Americans.

Kojo Keelson has spent nine years guiding tour groups around the Cape Coast Castle and says 2019 has seen a surge in interest as Ghana looks to rake in tourism revenue of $925 million (830 million euros).

“It’s like a pilgrimage. This year we’ve a lot more African-Americans coming through than the previous year,” he told AFP.

“I’m urging all of them to come home and experience and reconnect to the motherland.”

– ‘Love to come again’ –

Akwasi Awua Ababio, the official coordinating “Year of Return” events, pointed to high hotel occupancy rates as he said “enthusiasm is very high and we’ve got huge numbers coming from the US and Caribbean”.

He insisted that beyond the major economic boost, Ghana was also looking to use the new connections it is forging to convince the descendants of slaves to resettle for good and help the country develop.

“Human resource is always an asset and we need to see how we can welcome them home to utilise their expertise and networks,” the director for diaspora affairs at the presidency said.

The African American Association of Ghana brings together those who have moved to West Africa and offers help to integrate them into their new surroundings.

President Gail Nikoi praised the “Year of Return” initiative by Ghanaian leader Nana Akufo-Addo and said the country was “setting the stage for future engagements and involvement of African-Americans and other Africans from the diaspora in the development of this country.”

But she said the authorities could still be doing more to help attract arrivals and convince them to stay.

“Dialogue and engagement is the first step,” she said.

While most of those visiting Cape Coast were not thinking about settling back permanently — they said the trip had opened their eyes to both their own history and what Ghana has to offer.

“It has broadened my horizons about how we came to be here and what our ancestors went through,” said William Shaw, 57, from Montgomery.

“I would love to come again. There is a lot more to see here in Ghana… at least once in a year I’d advise African-Americans to come back to their native land and learn about their history.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Woman arrested over Outrageous Viral video of her abusing a child

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Police in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos have arrested a woman filmed abusing a child and then locking him in a caged kennel with dogs.

It is not clear when the footage was shot, but it went viral on Twitter earlier this month.

In the video clip, a woman is seen beating a boy, stripped to his waist, with a belt. She then drags him into an empty kennel and locks it before walking away. Two dogs can be seen in other neighbouring kennels.

The video caused outrage on social media, where shocked users offered rewards to anyone that could track down the woman.

On Thursday, a police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, tweeted that the woman in the video had been arrested.

“The suspect is in custody and will be charged to court… The boy, who happens to be an orphan, has been rescued and kept in a shelter provided by Lagos state government,” she said.

Her tweet links to a video filmed by police showing the dog kennels where the boy was locked up:

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