Gatuna border

An alliance of East African citizen groups announced Tuesday they were suing Rwanda and Uganda and in a regional court for financial losses resulting from a border dispute between the feuding nations.

Trade has been severely disrupted since late February when Rwanda abruptly closed the border at Gatuna shared with Uganda and severing a major economic land route used daily by traders and other business people on both sides.

The closure followed months of rising tensions between the two countries that have exchanged public accusations of spying in each other’s territory. Rwanda put an embargo on Uganda’s goods and stopped its citizens from traveling to Uganda, saying it could not guarantee their security.

Apart from a brief reopening of the border post in June the frontier has remained shut, damaging the local economies of both countries reliant on cross-border trade to survive. Rwandan claims it is rehabilitating the road.

Three civil society organisations, on behalf of communities along the border, said they had filed a complaint with the East African Court of Justice demanding reparations from Uganda and Rwanda for their losses.