171 Rwandan refugees return from DRC

171 Rwandan refugees who opted for voluntary repatriation were received in Nkamira Transit Centre in Rubavu District this Friday June 28, 2013.  

The returnees composed of children; women and men came from various locations of the Eastern DRC where they have spent more than 19 years in exile. They returned two days before the coming into effect of the Cessation Clause set on June 30, 2013.

According to returnees, the fact of living in inaccessible areas where they could hardly get informed about their country kept them in ambiguity of thinking that Rwanda was like they left it in 1994.

They said they got true information about peace, security and freedom from those who returned previously and on some radio stations in Rwanda which are captured in some areas. However, it is not easy to return because anybody caught with a plan to leave is threatened to death by FDLR militias who took refugees in hostage.

They said that most of them were facilitated to reach UNHCR by MONUSCO soldiers while others left clandestinely for fear of being persecuted.

The returnees stay in the transit centre for maximum two days where they receive repatriation package composed of food and non-food items that help them to survive for at least three months as they strive to catch up with life in Rwanda. They are after transported to their home villages by UNHCR and MIDIMAR.

More than 3000 Rwandan refugees have returned from DRC since January 2013.