The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rubavu District 'Picking Up the Pieces'

Rubavu district in the Western Province has witnessed security threats in the recent past calling for various interventions by the government but local leaders say they are up to the task.

District mayor Hassan Bahame says that residents have demonstrated the will to help security agencies consolidate the region's tremendous development.

"Despite the recent chaos, programmes have been initiated to rebuild the area both socially and economically," he said.

Bahame pointed out that former FDLR militia who returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo and residents whose relatives are still holed up in the DRC jungles are at the forefront of the campaign.

"It has paid off because these people (returnees) help us to disseminate vital information to their relatives about the peace programmes and various development plans in the country," he said.

Statistics from the National Demobilization Commission indicate that about 4507 ex-combatants are located in the western region and over 700 of them in Rubavu district.

Bahame said that in addition to that, various developmental programmes such as improvement of infrastructure, especially housing and the road network, are also underway.

Unlike a week ago when there was still looming fear following attacks by the FDLR rebels, today businesses are booming, farmers are again engaged in growing various food and cash crops and earning big as usual.

Life is back to normal in various trading centres, including Bugeshi and Cyanzarwe, which had been deserted due to the security threats.

It is common today to see trucks loaded with trade merchandise crisscrossing each other transporting goods across the border to the neighbouring Congolese town of Goma.

Anatolie Mugwaneza, a resident in the area, says that this has ensured that the people resume their roles in the development process.

"Movement within the region has been eased by the ongoing construction of roads traversing the town and it has helped to speed up development," he says.

Mugwaneza says that many changes have been registered and it is hoped that by the end of this financial year, a lot more will have been achieved as far as development is concerned.

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