The first batch of 100 Ugandans that have been stuck in Rwanda since the coronavirus lockdown in March were on Tuesday returned to Uganda through Katuna border post after nearly five hours of clearing by Rwanda immigration officers.
The deputy head of mission at the Ugandan embassy in Rwanda, Ms Anne Katusiime, led the delegation that handed over the Ugandans to the Ugandan immigration officials led by Mr Wallace Bindeeba .
Ms Katusiime said the repatriation was cleared by both countries and will be managed in three phases as the 100 people depart in a duration of three days by road.
“We have received them and the next course of action is to have them go through the health screening exercise at Katuna border post before they will be transported to Entebbe for institutional quarantining of 14 days,” Mr Bindeeba said.
One of the repatriated Ugandans that claimed anonymity said it was a relief to step on Ugandan soil again.
“I have been working in Rwanda for the last nine years but ever since the coronavirus lockdown was announced in March, the situation was not good. I have always wanted to come back home but it was not possible because the border and the airport were closed. I am happy to be back to Uganda, ” the Ugandan said.
A statement by the Ugandan embassy in Rwanda said Rwanda has successfully repatriated 100 Ugandan nationals out of more than 350 who were stranded in Rwanda due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The embassy undertook the registration and coordinated their return aboard four volcano buses from Kigali through the Gatuna-Katuna border post.
Mr Issah Boogere, the chairperson of the Ugandan Association in Rwanda, applauded Ugandans for their cooperation during the lockdown period and urged them to continue with the spirit.
In her remarks, Ms Katusiime lauded all Ugandans for the resilience and patience they have exhibited during this trying period and pledged to ensure that all Ugandan nationals in distress are repatriated home safely.
She wished them a safe journey and urged them to abide by Ministry of Health guidelines.
The buses were flagged off from the official premises of the High Commission in Kacyiru at 9am and were escorted to Gatuna-Katuna border by the High Commission officials.
The travellers will be received in Kampala by officials from the Ministry of Health and will immediately proceed to quarantine centres in accordance with the regulations stipulated by the Ministry of Health.