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Projet: Emission Club de la Presse: "Urubuga rw’Itangazamakuru "

Activité:Talk show ″Urubugarw'itangazamakuru″ (Club de la presse)

Date:17/07/2022

Auteur(s):
  • IPGL
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Cross border movement at the Rwanda- DRC border paralyzed amid warfare between DRC government and rebel groups.

This has been observed since the decision taken by the North Kivu administration that the border will only remain open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day following the security tensions that took place at the border of the two countries.

Indeed, Mouvement M23; a former rebellion whose resurgence at the end of 2021 in eastern Congo caused renewed tensions between the DRC and its neighbor Rwanda.Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting these rebels, which Rwanda denies.

In a context of extreme tension between the two countries, according to security sources, a Congolese soldier was killed and two Rwandan police officers were injured at a border post called the small barrier between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

This prompted the Panos Grands Lacs Institute to organize on July 17, 2022 a community debate in the Rubavu district, Gisenyi sector with the aim of involving the local community to find out how the security of the inhabitants is at the Rwanda-DRC border. .

This debate was organized in partnership with the Association of Journalists of Rwanda (ARJ) and was broadcast live in synergy by 13 radio and 2 TV stations

According to the mayor of Rubavu district Ildefonse Kambogo, until today the border of the DRC with Rwanda, remains open only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Losses all around

The Rubavu cross-border station, locally known as Petite Barriere, records the highest activity compared with other land borders. Traders, students, and people with family across the border pass there every day. The daily traffic is 55,000 people, 90 percent of whom are women. A majority of these women are informal cross-border traders who sell vegetables and cannot afford work permits.

This means that there are major economic losses “the movement of people is no longer at the same speed as before as the number of people moving across the border reduced from 55,000 to 10,000 peopleper day.’’ Says the mayor of Rubavu district

This reduction in border opening hours has greatly handicapped cross-border trade among Rwandans. The latter are obliged to sell their goods to the Congolese at a low price if they fail to return them to Rwanda, or else the Rwandans are obliged to sell wholesale and the Congolese will sell in detail. In this context, it is the Congolese who decide the prices of Rwandan goods, deplores Uwase Yvone, director of Cross Board Market. It is the Congolese who decide the prices because they play with time, she added.

Students too have not been spared by this conflict, a Rwandan student Nshimiyimana Eric who studies at a university in Kivu province DRC said that following the reduction in opening hours at the border, they must return at 12 noon leaving Congolese continuing their studies.

Small cross-border merchants are demanding the return of the use of the token to cross the border, because at the moment they use the residence permit to enter the DRC and the permit costs $40, an exorbitant amount for a small merchant.

Residents living near the border said  that restrictions were imposed on those seeking to cross the border using the national identification documents.Only those with passports and laissez-passer are given priority. Yet most ordinary residents do not have these travel documents which they say are costly.

Under the current pricing rates, the laissez-passer document costs Rwf10,000 at the immigration office, while Rwf2,000 extra is paid as an assistance fee for the application of the document at the Irembo agents.’

Ordinarily, residents from around the border area have been crossing into the neighbouring country using temporary passes which are given to them upon presenting a national ID.

BATUNZI Yvan, the head of a cross-border wheelchair transport collective — the Coopérative de Transporteurs Transfrontaliers de Rubavu (COTTRARU)its members, all of whom are disabled said the copetarive has a great loss  as before the reduction of border crossing hours, they used to get the income of 50,000 Rwandan francs per day, but for now they earm the maximum of 10,000 Rwandan francs.

The mayor of Rubavu district clarified that before the tensions, both contries had a project to use Identity cards  throug electronic entry registration, but unfortunately the project has been stranded due to  conflicts in DRC and tensions betwwe Rwanda and Congo. “We have already prepared the requirements for people to travel with IDs on our part. We are waiting for the neighbours to prepare.” Mayor Kambogo said.

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