Rwandan army blocked 200 pilgrims from attending Namugongo martyrs celebration

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Some 200 Rwandans were blocked by Rwanda troops from crossing the border with Uganda to attend 2019 pilgrimage on Monday.

The pilgrims were turned back amid ongoing tensions between leaders of the two countries.
Janinah Busingye, an official in one of Rwanda’s border towns, told AFP, “More than 200 Rwandans who were coming to attend Martyrs Day were stopped by the military from crossing to Uganda and sent back.”

One Rwandan pilgrim told AFP that her group was prohibited from crossing the border by officials who cited security reasons.
Rwanda has blocked people from crossing the border with Uganda for three months, according to the BBC. The closures have affected Rwandans living in border towns, who cross into Uganda to work and buy food.

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While Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Rwandan President Paul Kagame supported each other during their country’s respective revolutions, they have had a tense relationship in recent months, each accusing the other nation of interference and mistreatment of its citizens.

Each year, the commemoration draws millions from around the globe, including Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Africa News.
Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Rwanda celebrated Mass at St. Charles Lwanga Parish in Kigali for pilgrims who were unable to attend the Ugandan commemoration, AFP reported.

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