First group of refugees from Libya arrives in Rwanda on Thursday

Workers put final touches to construction of facilities at Gashora Transit Centre in Bugesera District yesterday. The centre will at the beginning host 75 refugees. / Sam Ngendahimana

The first group of African refugees and asylum-seekers from Libya will arrive in Rwanda on Thursday, September 26, the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management has said.

The 75 evacuees will arrive aboard a chartered plane in evening hours, according to Olivier Kayumba, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry.

 

They are part of the 500 refugees and asylum-seekers set to be airlifted from Libya to Rwanda in the coming weeks under a Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this month between the Rwandan government, African Union Commission, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

 

The government has already approved the list of the 75 imminent arrivals.

 

Their exit visas and transportation has been by processed by UNHCR.

On arrival, the refugees will be transferred to an emergency transit mechanism in Bugesera District, Gashora Reception Centre, an hour’s drive from the City of Kigali.

The centre, which has previously hosted Burundian refugees before they were relocated to other sites, has lately been receiving a facelift and workers putting final touches to the facility when The New Times visited on Tuesday.

Rwanda first made the commitment to host refugees from Libya in 2017 following damning revelations that tens of thousands of people from across Africa were not only stranded in the northern African country after their failed bid to reach Europe but many of them were being subjected to slavery.

Media reports indicated that the refugees were openly being sold in modern-day slave markets in Libya.

The evacuations are voluntary.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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