Rwanda says its border with Congo remains open


Rwanda says its border with Congo remains open
Rwanda says its border with Congo remains open(reuters.com)

In Summary

  • “The border was never closed and it is not closed,” Diane Gashumba told reporters as she sat next to the state minister of foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, who earlier said it was shut.
  • Slowdowns in traffic at the border had been caused by increased screening for Ebola, not a shutdown, Gashumba said.
  • Some 45,000 people go through the main border post between the two per day, according to an immigration official.

Rwanda health minister said the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained open on Thursday, appearing to contradict an earlier statement that the frontier was closed near the Ebola-hit Congolese city of Goma.

“The border was never closed and it is not closed,” Diane Gashumba told reporters as she sat next to the state minister of foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, who earlier said it was shut.

Slowdowns in traffic at the border had been caused by increased screening for Ebola, not a shutdown, Gashumba said.

Earlier, Congolese health authorities confirmed that a third case had been diagnosed in Goma, increasing fears the virus could take root in the densely populated city, which lies more than 350 km (220 miles) south of where the outbreak was first detected.

Lucien Kalusha, a Congolese hairdresser who crosses every day to work in Rwanda, told Reuters earlier on Thursday he and others had not been able to cross.

“By closing the border like this, they deprive a lot of people of their earnings today. Most of the women here cross into Rwanda to find food for us in Goma,” he said.

Some 45,000 people go through the main border post between the two per day, according to an immigration official.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,800 people in Congo since it was declared one year ago and become the second-worst on record. Two people have died of the disease in Uganda, which also borders Congo, but there have been no registered cases in Rwanda.

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