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Not EAC spirit! Uganda hits out at Rwanda on rebel training accusations, accuses neighbor of economic sabotage

Relations between Rwanda and Uganda continue to deteriorate following the closure of the Katuna border. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The Kampala regime has for the first time broken silence on the frosty simmering relations with Rwanda, denying reports implicating Uganda of harboring rebels fighting Paul Kagame government.

Richard Sezibera, the Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister in an interview with The New Times, a local daily in Kigali alleged that  “There are armed groups and individuals who head groups that are opposed to the government at Rwanda…these are the groups that have carried out criminal acts here in Rwanda and are based in Uganda.”

However, a statement signed by, Sam Kutesa, the minister of Foreign Affairs, trashes the claims rebelling them as entirely false and that “Uganda does not and cannot allow anyone to operate from its territory and threaten a neighbor as alleged.”

“This is a principled position. We are fully aware that our won development and transformation cannot take place without peace and security in the region,” Kutesa says adding that “we are convinced that doing so strengthens our regional integration and also helps us to integrate faster into the global economy.”

The Foreign Affairs minister went ahead to deny reports that there had been arrests, torture and harassment of Rwandans living in Uganda adding that “Uganda is a welcoming country that is why it hosts one of the biggest numbers of refugees in the world” but “any visitor must be law abiding.”

Meanwhile, Uganda Police also distanced itself from allegations of arresting, harassing and torturing Rwandese nationals in Uganda.

While addressing the media on Monday, March 4 at the police headquarters in Naguru, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the force does not have any Rwandan nationals in custody nor have any information in regards to such.

In response, Enanga challenged Rwanda to issue an official complaint with the Uganda foreign affairs ministry.

The Commissioner customs for Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Dickson Kateshumbwa, on Monday, wrote to his counterpart in Rwanda Revenue Authority to quickly find a resolution regarding the current impasse at Katuna border post.

According to Kateshumba, the impasse has also affected traders from other countries and could increase the cost of doing business with other partner states if Rwanda and Uganda don’t find a quick solution over this.

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