The M23 rebels have cut off all major supply routes for Ugandan and Kenyan goods to the city of Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This has caused financial losses to the two countries.
This follows the capture of Rutshuru Town in eastern DRC by the rebels, cutting off the Ishasha border in Kanungu District.
The border was the only one still open after the M23 rebels captured the Bungana border town in eastern DRC in June and later took control of the Kitigoma and Busaza borders.
Trucks carrying goods from Uganda and Kenya are stuck at the Ishasha border. The drivers say they have been there for weeks.
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The Kanungu Resident District Commissioner, Mr Ambrose Amanyire Mwesigye, said some of the truck drivers crossed into DRC but were told to return to Uganda by the Congolese authority.
The Congolese authorities said it was for their safety.
“Dozens of cargo trucks carrying goods from Uganda and other East African countries have been parked at Ishasha border post for two weeks because the drivers got information that the M23 rebels captured Kiwanja territory where they had to pass before arriving in Goma City,” Mr Mwesigye said.
The Kisoro deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Robert Tukamuhebwa, said Uganda has since halted operations of its immigration and customs offices adjacent to the captured border posts “because there was no legitimate government to guarantee the smooth running of cross-border trade.”
The DRC government has also blocked goods transported through territories under the control of the rebels from reaching major towns in the country.
Mr William Busuulwa, a leader of the truck drivers in Uganda, said some of their members are risking their lives entering DRC.
“Some Congolese business people, who are our clients, have connections along the affected routes. They hire the trucks and are able to reach Goma City,” Mr Busuulwa said.
Remember Congo are the laltest country to join EAC on 8th April this year after signing the treaty.
Kenya had deployed troops to help curb insecurity in Congo.