Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

19 December 2012

Rwanda: Congolese Refugees Flee to Rwanda

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
Displaced people.

About 373 Congolese from the Kinyarwanda speaking community have fled to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo since last Sunday. Three hundred and sixteen of the refugees, who entered the country through Rubavu border and were received by the Rwandan, have been integrated in the Nkamira transit center.

The others are still on the Rubavu Rwanda-DRC border.

According to the public relations officer at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (Midimar) Frederic Ntawukuliryayo, the refugees have fled because of fights among the rebel groups operating in the Eastern DRC, especially in the region of Masisi (North Kivu).

He told The Rwanda Focus in a phone interview that an average of 50-70 refugees have arrived in Rwanda daily.

"They (refugees) told us that they are fleeing rebel groups operating in their localities," he said.

The rebel groups accused are Nyatura (an FDLR linked militia), Raia Mutomboki and Mai Mai, all linked by the fact that they don't want the Kinyarwanda Speaking Community in DRC. Yesterday, about 65 refugees reportedly entered Rwanda.

"They are telling us that even their colleagues left back home are not secure because the rebels are killing and raping the women and children."

In Nkamira refugees' transit center, the Congolese are receiving, from MIDIMAR and other partners, basic assistance like shelter, food, basic health care, as they wait to be transported to Kigeme refugee camp (located in Southern Province) or to go back in their homeland if the security situation gets better. "We normally start to transport them at 6pm after they have been registered."

The figures released by the government and UN agencies put the total number of refugees living in the country at 57,641 harbored in several camps around the country. 57, 216 are from DRC and 55.7 per cent are women.

The above statistics were confirmed by Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, the World Food Program, UNHCR and the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee affairs.

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