A total of 63,441 Rwandans are still living as refugees in twelve countries on the African continent, the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), has announced.
The numbers vary with Uganda leading with 17,291 refugees, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo with 17,014, Congo Brazaville 6,922, Zambia 5,098, Malawi with 4,453 and Zimbabwe with 3,077.
Kenya has 2,437 refugees, South Africa with 2,114, Cameroon 1,438, Togo 902, Mozambique with 612 and 607 live in Benin.
The Minister for Local government, Christopher Bazivamo, told reporters yesterday that the Rwandan government had proved its worth through its good governance and is ready to see all Rwandans living as refugees in other countries return back home.
“Rwanda has achieved maximum security, and this obviously guarantees peace for everone. We are having Americans, Europeans and other nationals applying for Rwandan citizenship, why should our people not relinquish their refugee status and come home?,” he pondered.
According to information availed by the Ministry of Local government, from 1994 to date, the government has received some 3.2 million Rwandans who were formerly refugees.
This year alone, 11,044 former refugees returned to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 5,583 from Uganda and 18 from Zambia.
Bazivamo said that several tripartite meetings have taken place with different governments and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to see how more people can be encouraged to return home.
He said that the government was doing everything it can to make the lives of those returning home better by helping reintegrate in society.
Bazivamo also touched on the issue of foreign refugees who are being harboured in different camps in Rwanda pointing out that as the region regains stability, arrangements are also being done to have them repartriated back to their respective homes.