Govt blames Kiziba camp unrest on refugee leaders

Following recent unrest in the Kiziba Refugee Camp, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs has decided to dissolve the refugees’ executive committee.

This decision follows investigations to ascertain causes of unrest in the Kiziba Camp.

“Preliminary findings have established that a core issue causing unrest in the Kiziba Camp was the refugees’ executive committee, which was established to help in the management of the camp, but has instead been mobilising refugees to revolt against government officials and partner institutions, denying them access to the camp, and causing disorder among the refugees, thereby rendering the camp and its surroundings unsafe,” reads part of a statement from the ministry.

The ministry has since taken measures to normalise the situation in the Kiziba Refugee Camp, which include dissolving the refugees’ executive committee with immediate effect and has called for calm if dialogue between leaders and refugees are to take place, it said.

“The ministry has also directed that violent, unruly and provocative conduct in the camp is unlawful and must stop immediately to restore peace, law and order, as well as allow for dialogue to resolve any existing or emerging challenges.

“The Government of Rwanda is duty bound to provide safety to all Rwandans and refugees hosted in Rwanda, it added.

The ministry, therefore, calls on all refugees to cooperate in restoring normalcy in the camp, and gives notice that any person attempting to interfere with this process will be in violation of the law and will be held to account, the statement reads in part.

Kiziba Camp has been marred with routine protests by refugees in the past few months.

On February 20, about 700 refugees from the camp, which hosts over 17,000 refugees from Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, camped in front of the UN refugee office to protest food cuts.

The cuts were occasioned by reductions in food rations by World Food Programme to camp inhabitants by 25 per cent just few months after a ten per cent cut was implemented in November, 2017.

This reduced monthly individual food rations to nearly Rwf6,500 per month.

UNHCR and WFP continue to struggle to finance the roughly 178,000 refugees in Rwanda.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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