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Cablegate: Uganda's Border Feels Impact of Kenya's Unrest

VZCZCXRO5724
PP RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0019/01 0070411
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070411Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9837
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 000019

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV PHUM PREL UG
SUBJECT: UGANDA'S BORDER FEELS IMPACT OF KENYA'S UNREST

REF: KAMPALA 00012

1. Summary: EconOff traveled to Malaba, Tororo District and
to Busia, Busia District on January 3 to monitor border
developments and to potentially assist Amcits seeking shelter
in Uganda. Immigration and customs officers reported no
violent disturbances along the border, but noted that
hundreds of Kenyan refugees had sought shelter in Malaba and
Busia. Local officials and Red Cross representatives
assisting the refugees said additional support was needed. A
number of U.S. citizens crossed the border primarily for
tourism, with no reports of injury or death, though several
Amcits fleeing violence in Eastern Kenya sought assistance
from Post on January 2. Cutoff from fuel and Mombasa's port,
landlocked Uganda is feeling the squeeze from Kenya's ongoing
troubles. End Summary.

-----------------
American Citizens
-----------------

2. Ugandan Immigration Officer Robert Cwinyaai told EconOff
on January 4 that two Americans headed for the U.S. Embassy
in Kampala crossed into Uganda at Busia on/around December
30, and another four entered on 1 January. The two Amcits
told ConOff on January 2 that their hotel in Kakamega, Kenya
was surrounded by an angry mob of ethnic Kikuyu that only
ceased plans to destroy the building when informed that
Kikuyu were inside. They reported a large number of burnt
vehicles and numerous illegal checkpoints on the road to the
Busia border crossing.

3. Immigration Officials at Malaba reported that that two
Americans entered Uganda on January 1 and another ten on
January 10, all for tourism. There were no reports of
injuries or deaths at either location.

-----------------------------
Kenyans Find Refuge in Uganda
-----------------------------

4. Busia Deputy Resident District Commissioner Emily Akullu
told EconOff on January 4 that the refugee situation in her
town was stable. She said that her office had stepped up
efforts to support the estimated 764 Kenyans seeking food and
shelter. Akullu noted that 444 of the refugees were staying
at a local primary school in Busia and the remaining with
families. Cwinyaai also reported a large influx of Kenyan
refugees, but noted that more affluent Kenyans had also
entered Uganda.

5. Busia Uganda Red Cross Manager Steven Wamakota said that
he fed refugees and the truck and bus drivers stranded on the
Ugandan side one meal on January 3 and another on the January
4. Wamakota reported that there were just as many refugees
in Malaba, and said that additional resources were needed to
support both groups.

-----------------------
Fuel Down To A Trickle
-----------------------

6. Ugandan Customs Officer William Ndawula told EconOff on
January 4 that no fuel trucks were expected to cross into
Busia that day. He confirmed reports that 34 tankers crossed
the border on January 3, adding that between 30 and 40 fuel
trucks typically cross the border daily. The January 3
trucks were reportedly escorted from Eldoret and Kisoro, the
two points in Kenya where the pipeline from Mombassa ends, by
the Kenyan military. Fuel from the Eldoret pipeline is
trucked across the Malaba border and from Kisoro at the Busia
entrance.

7. Julius Favourite, the Malaba customs official, told
EconOff on January 3 that few commercial goods other than
fuel had crossed the border. He said that the trucks already
in route to Kampala had made it to the border before the
violence broke out. There was only one truck originating in
Mombasa since the unrest that crossed the border on January
3. The drivers, two Ugandan nationals, reported that it took
them five days to get to the border, a trip that normally
takes two. They reported frequent illegal road blocks, and
noted that support for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
ensured safe passage.

8. Comment: Both sides of the border are open, and it
appears that operations are slowly returning to normal after
several quiet days. Fuel shortages throughout Uganda will
likely continue until normal fuel delivery is resumed
(septel). Aside from scattered gunshots heard after Kenya's
election results were announced, there were no reports of
civil unrest or crime on the Ugandan side of the border. The

KAMPALA 00000019 002 OF 002


GOU, however, has increased security measures in the region.
End Comment.
CHRITTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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