The first convoy of trucks transporting over 140 Congolese refugees arrived at Kigeme camp in Nyamagabe District late on Sunday.
At exactly 4.55pm, trucks carrying members of 28 families started arriving at Kigeme which was recently rehabilitated to shelter the refugees who were living in the overcrowded Nkamira Transit Centre, Rubavu district.
Nkamira centre is currently playing host to the over 10,000 refugees who started entering the country early last month, fleeing fighting in the eastern DRC.
The convoy of UNHCR vehicles had left Nkamira Sunday morning to arrive at Kigeme late in the afternoon.
Upon arrival, the refugees were welcomed by the district mayor, Philbert Mugisha, who promised them security and safety at the settlement.
The second bunch is expected on Tuesday and the refugees will continue to be moved 'until the camp is filled to capacity', according to officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR).
"We will continue relocating them [from Nkamira] to this new site until the last one. If this camp gets full we shall look for another place," Jean Claude Rwahama, MIDIMAR's Director for Refugee Affairs, told The New Times.
"We cannot predict when the exercise will end as we are still receiving refugees every day".
The decision to transfer the Congolese refugees to Kigeme camp was announced late last month, mainly as a way of decongesting the transit facility which was over-stretched.
Initially, Nkamira Camp was supposed to accommodate 2600 refugees.
Spreading over 20 hectares, Kigeme Camp is temporary made of white UNHCR-marked tents which were erected to shelter the refugees but according to officials, the tents will soon be replaced by stronger structures.
The camp formerly sheltered Burundian refugees who had fled their country due to insurgencies, and have since returned home.
Currently, 75 temporary units are in place to host the Congolese nationals while construction continues.
Infrastructure facilities, including water and toilets, have also been put up while a health post is set to be constructed within the camp's vicinity.
The relocation of the refugees is mainly dictated by their growing number and the international obligation by countries hosting refugees to move them distant from their country of origin as a matter of security, it was said.
According to the official, once at the new camp in Nyamagabe, Southern Province, the wellbeing of the refugees will be ensured.
"Together with the UNHCR and other partners, we will ensure that refugees [hosted here] are treated well and educated", Rwahama told The New Times.
The UNHCR country Representative, Neimah Warsame, commended the government for effort; setting up the camp in less time and said the agency will maintain their support to the refugees.
"I am so happy you arrived safely," she told the refugees. "We will keep assisting you as much as we can".
"Bullets and explosions"
Over 10,000 Congolese refugees have fled fighting in the east and the number keeps growing, with an average of over a hundred per day according to Rwahama.
The latest influx of Congolese refugees crossing the border into Rwanda adds to the already existing 50,000 refugees who have been in Rwanda for over 15 years having fled insurgencies in the same region.
The fierce fighting which erupted late in April in the DRC's volatile eastern province of North Kivu have pushed thousands and thousands to seek refuge in Rwanda and Uganda.
Tens of thousands of others live in internally displaced persons' camps inside their country.
The clashes are opposing soldiers loyal to the Kinshasa-Government and mutinous soldiers, who have since formed a group known as the March 23 Movement (M23).
Other rebel groups operating in the region are also said to be taking part in the fighting, according to eyewitnesses.
The DRC's east is prone to insecurity and relentless fights between government forces and rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Mai Mai, Pareco and recently the M23, a group mainly made of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army (FARDC) under a 2009 peace deal.
"We heard bullets being fired. Explosions could be heard too. People died and it was so terrible," recounted Theophile Rutayisire, a refugee.
"I left my home [in Masisi] and travelled on foot until I crossed the border into Rwanda. I was separated with my 3 children; I do not know what happened to them," the 57 year old told The New Times.
"I pray the fighting ends so I return home".
Another refugee, Esron Bimenyimana, 62, said: "I saw dead people while we were fleeing the clashes."
"I run to save my life and at some point I fell into a trench and broke my leg. Fortunately, I managed to get out of it and to cross into Rwanda. Now I feel safe," the man who arrived in the country on May 26 said, with clutches under his armpits.
The refugees have blamed their government for years of insecurity and some point an accusing finger to soldiers whom they blame for "killing, raping women and looting people's property".