Rwanda closes border with DRC over Ebola outbreak


Rwanda has closed its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following the second death from Ebola in the city of Goma.

The move comes as fears mount that the disease could spread further into Rwanda after the first cases in the densely-populated city of Goma, which lies on the border between the two countries, were reported. The discovery of the Ebola virus in the city prompted the World Health Organization to announce a global health emergency related to the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history.

Rwanda closes DRC border

The city of Goma lies on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sharing the boundary with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. An open border between the two cities means thousands of people travel between the two cities on a daily basis with many living on one side of the border and working or going to school on the other.

Goma is a major transport hub between the two countries with a population of more than 2 million people while Gisenyi’s population exceeds 85,000 people.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the risk of Ebola spreading further across the region is “very high” but recommended against implementing any travel or trade restrictions as a result.

The DRC presidency’s office said it regrets Rwanda’s decision to close the border, contrary to the advice given by WHO.

Featured image: “Goma, Nord Kivu, RD Congo : Vue aérienne partielle de la ville de Goma.” flickr photo by MONUSCO shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.