RUSIZI - Sixty four returnees among them former rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were on Monday repatriated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), via Rusizi 1 border post.
Immigration officials at the frontier said the returnees include 20 former rebels and 44 civilians who fled the country during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The former fighters include nine men all of them corporals, five women and six children, while the civilians include 17 men, 11 women and 16 children- from areas of Walungu, Walikale, Masisi and Kavumu in the north Kivu.
Speaking to The New Times shortly after their arrival, Corporal Claude Ndamage said they have been trying to defect but their efforts were always blocked by senior FDLR rebel officers.
Ndamage added that they have left a very big number of their colleagues in the jungles of the DRC who are bent on being repatriated.
“I am happy that I have finally come back to my country. I will however, be more pleased if all of our colleagues whom we left behind get repatriated too- because they are living in poor conditions basing on my life experience there, ” said Christopher Mpumuje one of the returnees.
The returnees hail from different parts of the country, including Huye, Gicumbi, Musanze and Rwamagana.
The civilians were led to Nyagatare refugee camp in Rusizi District, while the former combatants were taken to Ntendezi transit camp in Nyamasheke District.
Whereas some were repatriated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), others reported to the border voluntarily,according to security officials.