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Uganda blocks online access to Rwandan newspaper

There was no immediate comment from the Rwandan government on the Ugandan regulator’s decision.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Picture: @KagutaMuseveni/Twitter.

KAMPALA - Uganda said on Friday it had blocked online access to Rwanda’s main state-owned newspaper on national security grounds, two days after the countries signed a pact to end tensions that closed their busiest border crossing for six months.

Uganda’s communications regulator asked all internet service providers to block access to _New Times _website in the country, the regulator’s executive director told Reuters.

“We have blocked it,” said Godfrey Mutabazi, adding that the newspaper had been identified by a government agency in charge of internal security as “a hostile platform that is likely to cause insecurity in this country.”

New Times has a sizeable audience in Uganda, an Anglophone country with a large Rwandan community.

There was no immediate comment from the Rwandan government on the Ugandan regulator’s decision.

On Wednesday, the presidents of Rwanda and Uganda signed a deal in the Angolan capital. They agreed to respect each other’s sovereignty, refrain from actions that destabilise the other’s territory and resume “as soon as possible” cross-border activities.

The neighbours have a long-running rivalry that led to conflict in the past, but tensions boiled over in February, when Rwanda closed their main border crossing.

It was briefly re-opened to cargo trucks in June but then closed again. Rwandans are banned from travelling to Uganda, which has accused Rwanda of effectively imposing a trade embargo.

Uganda’s move illustrated that Wednesday’s pact would not yield a quick end to the long-running rivalry between the two countries, said Nicholas Sengoba, a columnist at Uganda’s _Daily Monitor _newspaper.

“That signing was for the eye... as long as the suspicions, the accusations, the personal animosities are not yet resolved the rest is just playing the gallery,” said Sengoba.