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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

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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