Half of Ugandan Presidential convoy blocked at Uganda-Rwanda border

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

More than half of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's convoy was prevented from entering Rwanda on Thursday. The President was travelling to Kigali to hand over the chairmanship of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

Rwandan officials have been quoted as saying that the Ugandan convoy violated rules on the number of guns they are allowed to carry across the border.

Uganda has blamed the incident solely on Rwanda, arguing that the situation could have been resolved with much less controversy.

"What happened at the border was the sole responsibility of the Rwandese officials involved. If there had been extra guns, why could they not be left on the border for later collection and allow the vehicles to continue?" said a statement from Uganda's foreign ministry.

"The guns could even have been returned to Uganda, it is only 200 meters away. The body guards normally travel with guns even in commercial airlines. You surrender the guns to the pilots. They, then, give them to you on arrival," it added.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area stretching from Egypt to Namibia. It was formed in December 1994.

Relations between Uganda and Rwanda have been improving over the last few years, however recently the situation has deteriorated.