27 December 2012

Rwanda: Govt to Expand Kigeme Refugee Camp

The government has taken a sudden decision to expand in size the Kigeme Refugee Camp as the number of the Congolese refugees crossing into Rwanda continues to skyrocket.

Those fleeing are mainly Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese nationals and they have cited xenophobic attacks back home.

Antoine Ruvebana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee affairs, told The New Times yesterday that a team from his ministry had embarked on a survey to identify nearby residents who are willing to sell off their land to pave way for expansion.

"Today (Wednesday) we began the exercise of acquiring more land to expand the camp because clearly the number will exceed the existing capacity," he explained.

Ruvebana said that since last week, 1760 Congolese refugees had been received at Nkamira Transit Centre yet Kigeme Camp has a capacity to accommodate only 2,000 in addition to the initial occupants.

The camp, based in Nyamagabe district, is already home to thousands of Congolese refugees who fled violence in their country following the mutiny by officers and men who later formed the M23 rebel movement.

He noted that the decision to expand the camp would cause budget constraint at the ministry but it was the only viable alternative.

"Financially, it is a big problem because there is no provisional budget for that and you cannot open up another camp because its management would be even more costly," Ruvebana said.

Apart from Kigeme, the Congolese refugees are also hosted in Gihembe in Gicumbi district, Kiziba and Nyabiheke in Karongi and Gatsibo districts, respectively.

On Christmas, 246 more refugees were received at the makeshift camp set up at La Corniche border post, according to officials.

Like those who arrived before them, the refugees also claimed they had been attacked by armed militiamen dressed in FARDC (Congolese army) military uniforms.

Meanwhile verification and registration exercises resumed yesterday to allow continued relocation of these refugees to Nyamagabe district.

Ruvebana disclosed that the verification team would be enforced as well so as to match the rate of incoming refugees.

Copyright © 2012 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.