The New Times (Kigali)

17 January 2013

Rwanda: Kagame Begins Three-Day Western Province Tour

PRESIDENT PAUL Kagame, yesterday, began a three-day visit to the Western Province, with the first stop in Nyamasheke district that shares a border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Addressing the thousands of residents who turned out to welcome him, the President said that Rwanda will strongly fight against any group or individuals that may attack the country or its people in whichever way.

Last year, there were reports of attacks on Rwanda by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist group based in the DRC.

"I want to assure you that security is guaranteed for every Rwandan anywhere in the country. No one can just come and think they can destroy what we have built. They will not and never will they succeed," Kagame said.

He added; "Any attack on Rwanda is like daring to touch a high voltage electric wire... Rwandans are tired, they suffered so much, we can't afford that kind of suffering again."

The FDLR, which is mainly composed of people who took part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is said to be regrouping - taking advantage of the crisis in the DRC.

The President went on to encourage residents of Nyamasheke to live in harmony and do business with the DRC residents.

The Congolese neighbours get most of their food crops that include beans, maize and bananas, from Nyamaskeke.

"The Congolese are your brothers and sisters. You have to live together and improve each other's lives," Kagame said, advising them not to focus on political differences, but rather boost cross border trade and living better lives.

Nyamasheke is currently ranked among the best performing districts in the country.

The President noted that Nyamasheke's progress is shared by the whole country and the district should maintain the course.

The Mayor of Nyamasheke, Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, highlighted some of the challenges the district faces, including poor infrastructure and access to electricity to which the President pledged to address.

The President later held a town-hall meeting with residents, where they exchanged views on how to improve their wellbeing and addressed various issues faced by the residents.

The residents also gave testimonies of how they have benefited from various government programmes such as better housing.

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