A new camp for Congolese refugees opens in Gisagara District

On Wednesday February 18, 2013, The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee affair (MIDIMAR) opened a new camp for Congolese refugees, in the Southern Province in Gisagara District, Mugombwa Sector.

The new Mugombwa Refugee camp is set to accommodate about 10,000 Congolese refugees who have been hosted at Nkamira Transit Center in Rubavu District since 2012.

The relocation of refugees from Nkamira Transit Center commenced on Monday 16, February, 2014 and the operation continues until the whole population transferred to the new camp.

The relocation is meant to comply with (1) international standards requiring that refugees should not stay near the borders of the country they fled and (2) avail Nkamira Transit Center for only the reception of Rwandan returnees as it has been its predominant purpose of establishment.

At the occasion of the inauguration of Mugombwa refugee camp, Minister Seraphine Mukantabana, reaffirmed the commitment of the government of Rwanda to protect refugees and ensure their effective assistance as long as they are on Rwandan territory. She also reiterated that the Rwandan government shall continue to participate to all initiatives meant at both regional and international levels to restore peace in DRC so that refugees can go back to their home country.

“The establishment of this camp justifies the efforts of the Government of Rwanda into the protection of Congolese refugees. However, we recognize that this not the everlasting solution. That is why Rwanda is actively involved in all peace deals at both international and regional levels aiming at bringing back peace to DRC, which can be the major factor for refugees to return home.”   Said Minister Mukantabana

Minister Mukantabana also expressed gratitude to a Gisagara District authorities for the generosity they expressed to respond positively to the MIDIMAR’s suggestion to avail the site for the new camp construction.

She also thanked UNHCR representative in Rwanda for her commitment and continued support to the government of Rwanda in handling the emergency of Congolese refugees’ influx that started since April 2012.

Mugombwa Refugee camp covers a 47, 7 hectares land.  Infrastructures like, schools, water and sanitation have been established at the new camp, to serve both refugees and local communities.

According to Neihmah Warsame, UNHCR representative in Rwanda, the relocation of refugees from Nkamira to Mugombwa camp is being done simultaneously with establishment of infrastructures like shelters, and other necessary services.

Mugombwa camp becomes the fifth for Congolese refugees in Rwanda added to Gihembe  in Gicumbi District in the Nothern Province, Nyabiheke in Gatsibo District in Eastern Province, Kiziba in Karongi District in the Western Province and Kigeme camp in Nyamagabe District in Southern Province.