Upcountry-insight: returnees face their people and reality

After the end of insurgency in Rwanda, another important step in the post-Genocide history of the country was, and still is, the repatriation and resettlement of former refugees.

After the end of insurgency in Rwanda, another important step in the post-Genocide history of the country was, and still is, the repatriation and resettlement of former refugees.

Over three million persons have and had fled to the neighbouring countries. Refugees were internally displaced and for others who had fled the country in 1959 there was need to put things in order; sharing of resources and property.
After 13 years in exile, the returnees have come back home and they are received without animosity.

They are taken back to their areas of origin where they meet their own people, reclaim their property, and ready themselves to develop their country.

Since majority of those who fled to the neighbouring countries do not have first-hand accounts of the events taking place here, many have thought Gacaca was put in place to condemn whoever returned.

Enoch Ruhigira, 43, fled after 1994 to Kyabalisa refugee camp in Tanzania. He later crossed to Nyakivale refugee settlement in Uganda where he had been for the last 7 years.

He says it was time he returned home and he uses his energy to develop the land his farther had left him with.

“I was tired of being a refugee,” he says. 

He also regrets the time he spent in exile. “We wasted time working for the Banyankore and Bakiga struggling to make ends meet. Our children could not go to school; neither did we have the right to live as citizens of Uganda. We came back the way we left 13 years ago with nothing.”

Five hundred of the returnees, particularly men, are currently at Mutobo demobilization centre attending Ingando solidarity camp.

Frank Musonera, director of the demobilization centre, says that they are being received to be exposed to the true image of the changed society they were going to settle.

“While in exile, they were completely out of touch with reality here in Rwanda. They had a wrong image of the country,” Musonera says. 

The returnees echo a message of welcoming atmospheres to their colleagues still caught up with imaginations that there is no peace in Rwanda.

There is no benefit whatsoever to live as refugees especially in the Great Lakes region. Come back home.

Ends

 

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