Rwanda: New Congolese Refugees to Be Moved to Transit Facility

15 November 2022

Authorities in Rubavu District have started relocating arriving DR Congo refugees to Kijote Transit Center located in Bigogwe sector, Nyabihu district. 113 have arrived in Rwanda since Sunday.

They are fleeing from clashes in eastern DR Congo between government forces (FARDC) and the M23 rebels.

Speaking to The New Times on Tuesday, the Mayor of Rubavu District, Ildephonse Kambogo said that on Tuesday, only four refugees entered Rwanda. On Sunday, the first group constituted 89 people while on Monday 20 others arrived in Rwanda.

"They have been staying with relatives but we are now moving them to Kijote Transit Centre for effective management," said Kambogo.

The refugees entered through Kabuhanga border post and are said to have come from the areas of Ruhunda and Buhumba in eastern DR Congo. Most of the refugees are women and children.

One of the refugees arrived with a bullet wound and was rushed to Rwanda Military Hospital, in Kigali for treatment.

Fights broke out between the FARDC and its allied forces including FDLR against the M23 rebels on October 20 when DR Congo attempted to recapture territories that were occupied by M23. This resulted in the M23 pushing back and this intensified the war.

Rwanda is already home to tens of thousands of Congolese refugees, most of them have been in the country for over two decades.

DR Congo army has been accused of using heavy weapons along areas bordering Rwanda.

Rwanda has accused DR Congo of providing logistical support to FDLR, a terrorist group whose members orchestrated and directly participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. DR Congo is also accused of embedding the FDLR in its national army.

DR Congo has not denied the accusation but instead claimed that FDLR 'has been weakened'.

DR Congo has also been accused of several acts of provocation including shelling on Rwandan territory three times this year and the DR Congo fighter jet violating Rwandan airspace and briefly landing at Rubavu airport - an act Rwanda dubbed as outright provocation.

DR Congo accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels and consequently expelled Rwanda's Ambassador, a decision Rwanda described as 'regrettable'.

Efforts to de-escalate tensions between the two countries are underway and include the Luanda roadmap signed in July.

The roadmap for ending hostilities was reached at an Angola-brokered summit between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi.

According to the roadmap, the two countries agreed to normalise the political and diplomatic relations and establish a climate of trust between the states of the region and create optimal conditions for dialogue and political consultation to resolve the current security crisis in eastern DR Congo.

The roadmap also calls for an immediate defeat of the "FDLR and its splinter groups (CNRD, FLN, RUD-Urunana, and FPPH-Abajyarugamba) which are at the origin of tensions between Rwanda and DRC and play a major role in the insecurity of DR Congo."

The roadmap also committed to reactivating the Joint Intelligence Team Rwanda-DR Congo and agreeing on the practical modalities to fight the FDLR in coordination with regional mechanisms and blocs.

Part of the regional agreement is the Nairobi process that established inter-Congolese peace dialogue and the East African Force under which Kenya has already deployed its contingent to DR Congo.

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