Rwanda reopens land border with Uganda after three-year closure                                    

The main Gatuna crossing post, known as Katuna in Uganda, officially reopened at midnight.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rwanda on Monday reopened its land border with Uganda after a three-year closure, signaling a softening in relations between the two East African neighbors.

The frontier had been closed in February 2019 as political tensions between Kigali and Kampala spiraled, leading to the near collapse of two-way trade.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Rwanda announced its decision to reopen the border last week as a step towards repairing ties which had been soured by various rival accusations of espionage, abductions and meddling. It followed a visit to Kigali by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s powerful son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, where he met Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The main Gatuna crossing post, known as Katuna in Uganda, officially reopened at midnight, and traffic was expected to gather pace throughout the day.

Museveni and Kagame were close allies in the 1980s and 1990s during struggles for power in their respective countries, but relations turned deeply hostile. Rwanda shut the frontier after accusing Uganda of abducting its citizens and supporting rebels seeking to topple Kagame. Uganda in turn accused Rwanda of spying as well as killing two men during an incursion into Ugandan territory in 2019, a claim Kigali denied.

Both governments said last week they hoped the border reopening could contribute to the normalization of ties.

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