The closure disrupts the familiar Ruhwa-Rusizi-Bukavu route, previously used by Burundians and Congolese for various purposes, including commercial activities and medical trips, notably for Congolese seeking treatment in Bujumbura.
With the closure, the new alternative route through Gatumba, Uvira, Kiriba, Kamanyola in Congo, Rusizi in Rwanda, and then Bukavu, is almost three times longer, taking over 8 hours and costing between 60,000 and 80,000 Burundian francs—double the initial cost of the shorter route.
Aside from the increased time and costs, the poor road conditions, marked by potholes, pose significant challenges. Passengers, particularly Congolese seeking medical care in Bujumbura, express dissatisfaction with the discomfort caused by these road conditions.
According to reports, traders, especially those transporting perishable goods, face losses, sometimes being compelled to sell their merchandise en route due to concerns about spoilage during the extended journey.
In response to these difficulties, traders and transporters are urging Burundian authorities to reconsider the border closure, emphasizing the need to facilitate the free movement of goods and people between neighboring countries.
They advocate for discussions and negotiations as the preferred approach to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations.