50 return from Uganda
Forty-six Rwandan refugees yesterday returned home after being repatriated from Uganda.
The group arrived at Nyakivale camp in western Uganda, after fleeing fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
They arrived through Gatuna border post at around 2p.m local time, ending about 20 years of refugee life. They stayed in Uganda for two month.
Government officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs and officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) received the returnees.
They included 32 females, mostly under 18 years of age. Some refugees who talked to The New Times said though they had left their property in the Congo, it was time to return home.
“I have come back home voluntarily; no body forced us...though some people in Nyakivale camp were dissuading us from returning. We could no endure poor conditions associated with refugee life yet our country is secure,” Veraline Nyiraneza, 57, said.
The former resident of the Northern Province explained that her husband was killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, leaving her with two orphans to look after.
Emmanuel Sempira, 25, said, “I’m happy to return home but the problem is that I don’t know the fate of my family that remained in Rutshuru in eastern Congo.”
When fighting broke out his family scattered, he explained, as he fled with his little sister with whom they returned.
The returnees were expected to spend a night at Red Cross offices in Kigali, from where they would be transported to their respective home areas.
Most of them hail from Musanze and Rubavu districts. They will receive a three-month package of basic needs from UNHCR.
Brenda Shantaria, an official in charge of repatriation at the ministry, assured the returnees of government support in their reintegration process.
According to statistics, since January this year, 8,582 refugees have voluntarily returned home, with 97 percent of them returning from DRC.
Contact email: erick.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw