Christmas was a low key affair for residents of Bundibugyo district as an air of caution over the Ebola epidemic overshadowed the festivities.
Samuel Kazinga, the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner, told a news conference that the usual cross border movement between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was reduced because of fears of the spread of Ebola. He explained that in the past Ugandans have been able to profit from the increased trade over the Christmas season. However since the Congolese authorities closed the border, businesses in Bundibugyo have suffered.
Kazinga appealed to the DRC to re-open the border. He said the Ebola epidemic has been successfully controlled and all necessary preventative measures have been taken.
Both the Ministry of Health and the Red Cross are conducting door-to-door sensitization of communities in Bundibugyo to identify and report suspected Ebola cases.
The Congolese government closed the border crossing at River Lamya early this month after the Ebola epidemic was reported.
Bundibugyo district hosts a large border market at Njiyapanda. Ugandan traders sell smoked fish and manufactured goods at the market and traders from the Congo sell food crops. It is a major trade base for many peasant farmers and fishermen in Bundibugyo.
Uganda Radio Network has learned that despite the border closure, some Ugandans have been able to smuggle their goods into the DRC.