Rwanda

Flights from Kigali to 'world's factory' Guangzhou begin

Rwanda's national airline RwandAir launched their first flight between their capital Kigali and the Chinese city Guangzhou early on Tuesday morning.

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Guangzhou is known as the "world's factory" because it is a hub for manufacturing and Africans come to Guangzhou for short periods to buy goods to ship back to Africa.

So many Africans headed to Guangzhou that in the 2000s the city’s Xiaobei area became known as "Little Africa", reports the South China Morning Post.

Rwandans still advised not to travel to Uganda

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera has told Rwandans that they should still not travel to neighbouring Uganda despite the busiest common border post temporarily reopening on Monday.

"The travel advisory has not changed... that you are strongly advised not to travel," Mr Sezibera is quoted by the pro-government New Times newspaper.

On Monday, Rwanda announced that after having been closed for more than three months, the main crossing at Gatuna would reopen to allow heavy goods vehicles to cross. This was described as a way to test new infrastructure at the border.

A diplomatic feud between the two countries stopped most cross-border movements, a situation that has had a huge effect on business and daily life for families in both countries.

For its part, Uganda has said that its citizens should still not travel to Rwanda.

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo also said that Ugandan lorries would not use the Gatuna border crossing: "We do not want to ask people to divert their trucks when these people are saying it's only for 10 days."

People carrying sacks through a field
BBC
While the border has been closed some have been using illegal crossings

Rwanda reopens part of border with Uganda

BBC Great Lakes

After having been closed for more than three months, the Rwandan authorities have temporarily reopened the country's busiest border crossing with Uganda to allow heavy goods vehicles to cross.

A diplomatic feud between the two countries stopped most cross-border movements, a situation that has had a huge effect on business and daily life for families in both countries.

It is estimated that 70% of border trade was stopped, the Uganda authorities have said.

In February, Rwanda abruptly closed the main crossing at Gatuna citing ‘"quick renovation works" and denied that there was a political motive. In its words, Rwanda "advised" its citizens not to cross over to Uganda.

Rwanda's revenue authority now says the border has been reopened to assess whether the renovated border crossing works.

Rwanda has accused Uganda of illegal arrests and the torture of its citizens soil. For its part Uganda says Rwanda is spying on the country.

Deserted border crossing
BBC
Normally busy border crossings have been deserted in recent months
Rwanda's flourishing car industry
Carmakers are setting up factories in Rwanda, but they face stiff competition from importers.

'Why I'm walking across Rwanda for 100 days'

A Rwandan genocide survivor touring all 30 of the country's districts says he has been struck by the kindness of the people he has encountered on the way.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa is halfway through a 1,500km (932 mile) "peace walk", marking 25 years since the 100-day genocide of 1994.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa pictured crossing a river
Dylan Cuddy/Be The Peace Walk
Hyppolite Ntigurirwa pictured next to a sign that reads 'Hope For Tomorrow'.
Dylan Cuddy/Be The Peace Walk

"People give us food, people give us shelter," Hyppolite told BBC Focus on Africa.

He says he was perhaps most touched by the support of a young girl who wanted to join the walk and even offered to carry his bags but found they were too heavy.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa pointing to type on a building wthat reads 'Never Give Up'.
Dylan Cuddy/Be The Peace Walk

Now aged 32, Hyppolite was seven years old at the time of the genocide. He says the trauma of the past still gives him nightmares.

"My dad was killed in front of me and fed to the dogs," he told the BBC, adding that he was able to survive by hiding under corpses in a mass grave.

"Forgiving is a journey and you can only do it if you think about the generations to come. It's the hardest path you can take but it’s the one that can bring what we want in the world.”

Today, Hyppolite says that his family have gone to great efforts to "invite these people who we knew who killed my relatives and my cousins... They now come in our ceremonies and they enjoy what we enjoy."

He hopes his 100-day walk can bring together other Rwandans in the same spirit. He says anyone he encounters is welcome to join him.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa pictured walking across farmland with rucksack on his back
Dylan Cuddy/Be The Peace Walk

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Rwandan rebel admits terrorism charges

Jean Claude Mwambutsa

BBC Great Lakes, Kigali

Callixte Nsabimana
Getty Images

Callixte Nsabimana "Sankara" - the captured spokesperson for the rebel group the National Liberation Front (FLN) - has admitted terrorism charges before a court in the country's capital, Kigali, on Thursday.

Mr Nsabimana was arrested last month in Comoros and was secretly handed to Rwandan authorities.

He was charged with multiple criminal counts relating to terrorism - including starting an illegal militia and co-operating with foreign states in an attempt to topple the Rwandan government.

Mr Nsabimana had previously declared war on the Rwandan government and admitted FLN responsibility for last year's deadly attacks in south-western Rwanda.

RwandAir debunks viral WhatsApp video

Rwanda's national carrier, RwandAir, has tweeted a note of clarification alerting viewers to a viral video appearing to show an Ebola patient on one of its planes that it isn't quite what it may seem:

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The clip doing the rounds on WhatsApp shows a uniformed flight attendant informing passengers:

On behalf of RwandAir we would like to inform you that there is a passenger showing signs of Ebola infection. We ask you not to panic because we have trained doctors on board."

The flight attendant speaks to passengers on board the RwandAir plane
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Here's the moment the flight attendant alerts passengers over the tannoy

But what many of the people sharing the video by WhatsApp haven't realised is that it was filmed as a drill for broadcast on state television.

"The reporter clearly says: 'This is a drill' halfway through the video," Prudent Nsengiyumva from the BBC Great Lakes service explains.

"Then the fact that the passenger is so calm, the camera crew are already on board the plane, plus the reference made later on in the video to former Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho all make it clear that it was filmed in the past."

Was the idea to film such a video misguided?

"It's weird to use real people, although it was well-intentioned to reassure the public of Rwanda's preparedness for Ebola," our reporter says.

At the time the video was filmed in 2015, the West Africa Ebola outbreak was at its height.