WESTERN PROVINCE – A least fifty-three Rwandans are illegally detained in ‘safe houses’ Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
They were allegedly held between the months of April and August, this year.
This was contained in a report by the Western Province handed to the Vice Governor of the DRC’s Northern Kivu province, Fera Rutayikirwa.
Rutayikira was on August 30 leading a Congolese delegation to Western Province where they discussed with Rwandan officials on matters of border security as relations between the two provinces.
According to the Governor of Western Province Penelope Kantarama, the meeting was aimed at tackling growing tension between the two countries and illegal arrests and harassment of Rwandans.
She said after the meeting: “Currently, there are insecurity problems between the two provinces. We have received reports of Rwandans who have been harassed and illegally arrested in Goma and some are still detained in ‘safe houses’ across the border.
“The objective of this meeting therefore was to discuss how both sides (Rwanda and DRC) can jointly address these issues as well as improving relations both at the provincial and national level.”
The head of the Congolese team, Rutayikira, promised that his province would investigate alleged illegal detentions of Rwandans, and release whoever might have been victimized.
He said they would first try to locate their whereabouts and subsequently free them.“We have been given a list of the missing Rwandans who are believed to be illegally detained in Goma, and we are going to settle this issue,” Rutayikirwa promised.
The development come as top government leaders in Kigali and Kinshasa are also engaged in parallel talks aimed at calming the renewed talk of tension between the two countries.
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Charles Murigande was yesterday due to hold talks with his Congolese counterpart Mbusa Nyamwisi in Kinshasa. He was invited by Nyamwisi.Lately, Kigali expressed concern over DRC’s halting of military operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels in the country’s east.
However, just days ago Congo’s military chief, General Gen. Dieudonne Kayembe promised that Kinshasa would renew operations against FDLR and other negative forces, a move that was warmly welcomed by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
FDLR is an amalgamation of remnants of the former Rwandan army and Interahamwe militias which are responsible for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. Meanwhile, Kantarama said that a joint commission composed of delegates from the Rwanda’s Western Province and DRC’s North Kivu Province had been set up and charged with looking into cases of security concerns on either side.
“This commission will be chaired by (the two) governors from both s who will have alternate at the position of chairmanship, and at district level, the commission will be chaired by an mayor chosen by other mayors from both provinces,” the governor said.