The Republic of Uganda on Tuesday sealed its Bunagana border post with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kisoro district over claims the M23 rebels in the eastern DRC were using it to finance their activities.
This was revealed by the Minister of State For Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation Hon Asuman Kiyingi in a Press statement.
The closure follows a request by Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila through a Special Envoy Mr. Raymond Tshibanda N’tunga Mulongo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophone Affairs of DRC, accompanied by the Governor of North Kivu and the Ambassador of the DRC to Uganda – to President Yoweri Museveni on October 26, 2012, that the DRC Government had concerns that, M23 rebels were taking advantage of the open border point at Bunagana to collect revenue from cargo vehicles and other goods.
“The Government of the DRC made a formal request on 30th October, 2012 to President Museveni reassuring him that, the closure of the border post will not affect the lives of the civilian population in Bunagana, in spite of the conflict. Further that, the movement of the people, goods and supplies of basic needs to the population will continue without restriction to Rutshuru territory as well as between the latter and the city of Goma.” the statement reads in part.
The announcement was made by UPDF’s Second Division commander Brig. Patrick yesterday at a meeting with Kisoro district security committee.
Army spokesman Col Felix Kulayige confirmed the development saying “It’s true we have temporarily closed the border on the request of Kinshasa government because the M23 rebels had started collecting money from the trucks carrying goods from Uganda to DR Congo,”
However, Uganda has reaffirmed its commitment as the Chair of ICGLR to the process of finding a durable solution to the conflict in Eastern DRC, in line with the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.
The closure of this border comes two months after a leaked UN report accused Uganda and Rwanda of aiding M23 rebels in the Eastern DRC. The two nations have since denied any wrong doing.